Social Learning Theory: Concept And The Role In Society

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In this paper I will go over what social learning theory is, who first came up with the idea and how it plays a role into our society today. It will always explain who Albert Bandura is and his four different steps of the way social learning is played out. I will explain why modeling and classical conditioning part of social learning theory is and give examples of them. I will talk about how manners and classical conditioning is a part of social learning theory and also give example of the two topics. Lastly, I will explain my experiences of social learning theory and how it affected me in my life. Hope you enjoy my paper.

Social learning theory is defined as, helps explain humans’ behavior in the terms of continuous, reciprocal interactions between cognitive behavioral, and also the environmental influences. (“Social learning theory Albert Bandura”, 2018) Social learning theory puts together cognitive learning, which states that learning is influenced by psychological factors and also behavioral learning theory. Which then is assumed that learning is based on responses to environmental stimuli. Psychologist Albert Bandura integrated that these two theories in an approach called them social learning theory and then identified four requirements for learning observation which is also known as, environmental, retention which is also known as cognitive, reproduction and motivation. (403 forbidden)

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The social learning theory of Bandura emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the seen behaviors, and also studies attitudes and emotional reactions of others. Bandura developed a famous experiment known as bobo doll. While preforming this study Bandura had children watch adults’ model either violent or passive behavior toward the toy called bobo doll. This study influenced how the child would interact with the bobo toy doll. The children who saw violent behavior being done to the doll, they would imitate that behavior and were verbally and physically aggressive toward the doll. Children who seen nonviolent behavior toward the doll would, be less aggressive toward the doll. This is how Bandura theory would show how social learning takes places weather it was aggressive or nonaggressive and how a person social behavior is shown through observations, learning or watching the behaviors of others. (403 forbidden)

The important components that explain observational learning are number one, Attention, this includes modeled events such as distinctiveness, affective valence and functional value. This includes observing characteristics such as sensory capacities, arousal level, perceptual set, and past informant. Number two, Retentions, this includes symbolic coding, cognitive organizations, symbolic rehearsal and motor rehearsals. Number three, motor reproductions, includes physical capabilities, self-observations of reproductions, accuracy of feedback. Lastly number four, motivations, includes external vicarious and self-informant. (“Social learning theory Albert Bandura”, 2018) A good example of Bandura theory is a tv commercial. Commercials suggest that a certain something is going to make a person live a little better because they don’t have it yet. Depending of the component process involved which is shown as, attentions or motivation, the person might then what to go out and try it because they were shown that behavior from the commercial. (“Social learning theory Albert Bandura”, 2018) That is a way we learn from Bandura theories.

Furthermore, modeling theory emphasizes on the importance of observation and imitation that may take place from an individual that is being portrayed through media and bring a change when it comes to their behavior, knowledge, attitude and values. This imitation is more likely to happen if the model is an important person and holds an admired status to that individual. The copied behavior is gradually reinforced, and the individual identifies with the model and gradually tries out the behavior. (admin, 2014)

A good example of modeling is when Ivan Pavlov, (1849-1936) a Russian scientist interested in studying how the digestion works in mammals. During Pavlov study he notice that the dogs began to drool whenever they saw lab coats, even if there was no food insight. Pavlov people who worked on the study wore lab coats. He wondered why the dogs would salivate at the lab coats even if they didn’t have food. He then tried to ring a bell for when it was time for the dogs were to be fed. Soon after that when the dogs would hear the bell, they began to salivate. Pavlov said that the dogs were showing classical conditioning. He staged it like this, there is neutral stimulus (the bell), which itself will not produce a response, like salvation. There was also a non-neutral or unconditioned stimulus (the food), which then would produce an unconditioned response (salvation). But having that Pavlov put the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus together then the dog will associate them together. Then after a while, the neutral stimulus by itself will have the same effect as the unconditioned stimulus would, like when the dogs drool when they heard the bell, this is known as a completely natural and a conditioned response is something that they learned. (“Ivan Pavlov and classical condition: Theory, experiments and contributions to psychology video”)

The similarities of the two theories that I chose was anything can be learned and what you may want to be. During modeling many people want to become and have what the person they are modeling have. Classical conditioning is basically what a person does when another person may see something, they will also put them two together and associate those two things together. Those are the ways I think people associate with social learning theory.

Manners is defined as ways of behaving toward people, ways that are socially correct and show respect for their comfort and their feelings, according to cambridge dictionary. It’s important to have good manners because it can show what kind of a person you are, it can make people what to be around you and manners play an important role in social learning theory. Without having proper etiquette society would be a mess with all the different types of attitudes. People who are known as rude would be depending to those who care about others. Another reason we have manners is because people would say what’s on their mind, regardless of how insensitive it is. Having manners can also make a person feel good when have proper manners. (Mayne, 2019) A way manners play a role in social learning theory is how a person grows up, people have always been shown how to have proper etiquette, and how it is important to be kind to one another, its important because people don’t know what a person can be going through and even by just being nice and saying thank you can make a persons day.

Another important social learning experience that society shows is goal setting. According to yourdictionary, goal setting is the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measurable goals and time frames. Goal setting is a good example of social learning theory because in Bandura theory his four steps was motivation, which includes externa vicarious and self reinforment. Goal setting is a prime example of self reinforment because a person sets goals for their self in their present, future and feather into the future. It can be anything from a dream job or even a vacation to somewhere a person has never been. Goals guides a person’s focus, when setting a goal naturally a person attention is directed towards a new step and as that result it leads a person in the right direction of achieving that goal and forces a person actions and behavior to follow. Another good thing about goal setting is, it sustains momentum. Seeing progress can be addicting, its addicting because of the dopamine released in a person brain after attaining a reward. (Boss, 2017) A good example for me when I have had momentum is when I’m playing bowling ball at the arcade. I can never get enough of it! I keep wanting to play more and more. Goal setting is shown in social learning theory, can be just like a team effect and teams like to have what they call a “game play” to beat the other team. Lastly another example that goals setting is in social learning theory is wanting to master a certain active weather it’s a game, makeup, etc. people always have goals and it plays a big role in a person life.

A personal experience I have had in my lifetime that is an example of social learning theory, is manners. Growing up I have also been told, if I’m sitting in a chair and someone older than me doesn’t have a chair, give up my chair for them. This was something that my parents had taught me and will be passed down to my children and so on. I have always been taught to saying excuse me when walking in front of a person or just moving pass them and to say, thank you whenever I feel the need to say thank you. I have always been told never to bullying or say mean things to people, my grandma always says “don’t spit in the wind” meaning if you saying something mean it may come back to you. Another thing that I have experience in my life for social learning theory is modeling, a prime example of this is being a good mother. I don’t have children yet, but when I do, I plan to parent the way my own mother has parented me. I think my mother has shown me how to be caring towards others and what to do and what not to do when it comes to parenting even though there is not a right or wrong way to parent. My mom has taught me to always be independent and never ask much from anybody. This is an example of modeling because I’m watching her and when it’s my turn to be a parent, I will somewhat know what to do because I’ve learned from her.

In conclusion, I personal think that the social learning theory will always play a role in everyone’s everyday life, because no matter how young or old people get everyone is learning something every day. We learn from parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, society, to be better human beings and learn to cope with life. Writing this paper had taught me a lot of this theory and it’s nice to read where it all started from and why we think the way we think.


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