Social Learning Theory Essay

1001 words - 4 pages

Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory describes the process through which people acquire new info, forms of behavior, or attitudes from others firsthand or vicariously. The likelihood of a behavior presenting itself will rely on the amount of reinforcement it receives and the value that the individual associates to it. While some behavior may be rewarded, others may produce unfavorable responses. An individual will learn from the consequences of these actions and when a similar situation arises, they will alter their behavior according to what was most successful in the past.
Through the Social Learning Theory, one can absorb new behaviors from others or one can form attitudes toward something that can in turn influence behavior. The attitudes we acquire may sometimes be implicit or explicit and depending on the strength of these attitudes and environmental factors, behaviors may come about. If implicit attitudes are strong and an opposing explicit is weak, the behavior will portray the implicit attitude unconsciously.
Prejudicial attitudes, in the implicit or explicit form, can be played out through discriminatory behaviors, or negative behaviors directed toward members of a different social group. By observing or listening to those around them, especially those who they relate to, people can attain attitudes or behaviors towards other individuals or groups who they have never even associated with.
Besides discriminatory behaviors, the Social Learning Theory can also influence aggressive behaviors. Although aggression can be learned at any age, children tend to be susceptible to socially learn aggressive behaviors from physically abusive parents, their community, video games, etc. Furthermore, the new aggressors could have learned when and where aggressive acts are appropriate or allowed, as well as which people or groups are good targets. Cases of domestic abuse are good examples of such learning.
On a positive note, pro-social behavior is another result of indirect and direct social learning. Empathy and morals are major contributors to pro-social behavior that are usually learned by children from positive role models. The possession of empathy and strong morals cause an indirect result of social learning, while the observance of another individual’s pro-social behavior will help them learn directly.
Finally, but not limited to, gender linked-behaviors can be attributed to the Social Learning Theory. Children learn to behave in ways they are expected to behave as male or female by observing and imitating behaviors of people of their gender. After learning their gender-linked behaviors at home, children are enforced further by their peers and school administration.
As a whole, are behavior is one of the factors on which we are judged by and are appreciated for. Seeing as the Social Learning Theory has such a major role in shaping our behavior and has survived for so long, it can be classified as one of the most solid...

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