Albert Bandura – SMART Goal Setting and Social Learning Theory

Psychologists are responsible for studying human behavior. One of the most popular psychologists who had contributed so much in psychology is Albert Bandura.

Have you heard of the social learning theory? Are you familiar with the Bobo doll experiment? If yes, then you must have heard of Albert Bandura. He is famous for his contributions in the social learning theory and for his very own study on Bobo doll.

Below are just some of the most important things you should know about this brilliant man, Albert Bandura:

– The roots

Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925 in the simple town of Mundare. His parents were both immigrants. His father came from Poland while his mother originally lived in Ukraine. There are six of them in the family and luckily for him, he was the only son of his parents.

– Education

After graduating from their town’s high school, Bandura decided to take up a degree in psychology. He was greatly fascinated by the way human beings behave and react to different stimuli that he wanted to find out the answers to his many questions. He took his degree at the University of Iowa where he graduated in 1949. Then he proceeded to taking his Doctor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Iowa where he finished in 1952.

– Employment

Bandura began his career as a psychologist by teaching at Stanford University in 1953. He is highly acclaimed for his theories and studies in the field of psychology that in 1974 he became the president of the American Psychological Association.

– Accomplishments

Albert Bandura received many honors and awards for his contribution in psychology. He was awarded the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution in 1980 and the prestigious Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology by the American Psychological Association in 2004. Aside from these, he received twelve honorary degrees from respected universities like the University of Salamanca, Indiana University, University of New Brunswick, University of Rome, University of British Columbia and many others. Moreover, he also authored several psychology books like Adolescent Aggression, Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis, Social Learning Theory, Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, and Self- Efficacy: The Exercise of Self Control.

The works of Albert Bandura are indeed remarkable that even psychologists today often use his studies as a guide on how to understand and analyze their patients’ behaviors.

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.

Conflicting Theories – Psychology of Learning

The psychology of learning is perhaps one of the most heated topics in modern psychology, and there are many conflicting theories and points of view in this arena. The largest area of disagreement is the infant phase, which runs from childbirth to when the child first begins to speak. During all phases of the child’s life, play and learning are of paramount importance.

During the first educational phase described my most theorists of the psychology of learning (0-2 years) children learn by imitating other people (especially the mother), testing out their environment, ritualizing play and eventually simple make-believe. In the psychology of learning, each of these comes at various stages, and all must be learnt in order for a child to be able to interact with their environment productively.

The next phase described by the psychology of learning is the toddler and early childhood phases (2-5 years) in which the primary means of learning is through the use of symbols. It is in this phase that a child begins to learn the arbitrary connections between word-sounds, pictures and concepts.

Since these connections cannot be learnt through trial and error, it is important that the child have as much support as possible during this period.

The psychology of learning and the philosophy of language both place enormous importance on this part of a child’s development. Another important discovery in the psychology of learning is that children in this phase use ‘compensatory play’, which is the first evidence of children trying to come to terms with their emotions.

According the psychology of learning, children transfer their emotions or an event that happened onto another object. For example, a child that has recently been scolded might be seen scolding her doll as a way of understanding how the scolding made her feel. When the child reaches ‘childhood’ status (7 years and up) their learning capacity is greatly increased.

The psychology of learning dictates that children should be given as much structure during this period as possible, to teach the child how to interact socially. Games like hide-and-seek and board games are heavily endorsed by those who practice psychology of learning. Institutionalized games, and organized sports play an important role in this stage of a child’s development.

Studies in the psychology of learning show that children at this age who participate in sports are more likely to have better grades and more energy, and are more likely to get along well with their classmates and friends.