Albert Bandura – What is Social Learning Theory

They are many people who contributed greatly to the study of human behavior and one of them is a psychologist named Albert Bandura. He is the main proponent of the social learning theory which even today is widely recognized as one of the best theories that explain the behaviors of human beings. Together with his Bobo Doll experiment, Bandura came up with the social learning theory.

So what is the social learning theory about? Why is it considered as an effective theory? What made it different from other theories in the field of psychology?

Here are some important things you should know about the social learning theory:

o The Proponent

Albert Bandura is a well known psychologist even today. He conducted several studies, authored many psychological books like Adolescent Aggression and Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis, and many other articles. He also received major awards such as receiving twelve honorary degrees from different universities including University of British Columbia, University of Rome, University of Salamanca, Indiana University, and University of New Brunswick among others. He was president of the American Psychological Association and the Western Psychological Association as well. Further, he garnered the most coveted Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award by the APA in August 2004.

o The Bobo Doll Experiment

Do you ever wonder how the social learning theory came about? Well, thanks to Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiment. This one of a kind experiment proved the value of observation and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of other people. The experiment showed that children mimics what others were doing to the Bobo Dolls. If they saw someone punch and kick at the doll, they will also do the same.

o Modeling and How it is Done

The social learning theory of Bandura put emphasis on modeling and how it is done. He pointed out that there are three steps involved and these are attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. According to Bandura, if you want to model someone or something, you have to pay attention to every single detail. Retention is just as important since it is the manner by which you were able to synthesize and learned by heart what you have just observed. In order for modeling to be effective, you have to put into practice whatever you have learned. Lastly, you must be able to motivate yourself to do the act. You can provide intrinsic or extrinsic motivations and other forms of reinforcements to keep you going.

The social learning theory of Bandura may just be another theory on human behavior but we cannot deny the fact that it proved to be very helpful. Once you apply the information provided by this theory, you will definitely help yourself become a better performer and be the person you want to be.