Julian Rotter & Walter Mischel's Theories

661 words - 3 pages

Julian Rotter and Walter Mischel both theorized that cognitive aspects, more so than direct reinforcements, establish human reactions to environmental influences. Both psychologists propose that human expectations of impending events are the foremost factors in determining human performance. Recognized for his cognitive social learning model of personality, Mischel’s theory centered on the particular cognitive variables that intervene with the way new experiences influence a person (Feist & Feist, 2009).
The assumption of Julian Rotter’s theory on cognitive social learning is that humans learn from watching others and in the course of observing others imitate different behaviors. The central premise behind his theory is that the probability of an individual to “engage in a set of functionally related behaviors in a given psychological situation is a joint function of (1) the person's expectancy that the behaviors will lead to a particular outcome in that situation and (2) the value of the outcome to the person in that situation” (Wallston, 1992, p. 184). The five basic hypotheses of Rotter’s interactionist hypothesis: 1. Human behavior is a result of the interaction of environmental and private factors. 2. Individual character traits are learned and may be altered or adjusted provided that learning continues. 3. Human personality and traits are basically stable. 4. Human motives are purpose-directed. 5. Humans have the capacity to anticipate events and are therefore able to change environments and individual traits (Feist & Feist, 2009).

The formula for predicting human behavior embodies an optimistic rather than a realistic method of calculation. Exact values cannot be determined (Feist & Feist, 2009).

Other researchers such as biological theorists maintain that the cognitive social learning theory disregards individuals’ biological condition. Furthermore, they contend that the social learning theory does not consider the differences of individuals resulting from genetic, intellectual, and learning differences (Isom, 1998).

Cognitive social learning theory unites the thoroughness of learning theory with the hypothesis that humans are anticipatory beings. The theory rates high on generating research and on internal consistence although it rates as average on falsification and organizing data. However, both Rotter’s and Mischel’s hypotheses have...

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