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Social Learning Theory - Essay Example

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Two teens have shot and killed a tourist at an interstate rest area. It is a question as to why the youngsters undertook such delinquent act. The developmental theory that is used to explain this scenario in this paper is the social learning theory, which states that one's environment causes one's behavior; thus, social learning (Rinehart and Bandura, 1977)…
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Social Learning Theory
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Download file to see previous pages This is the focus of Bandura's social learning theory.
It is already noted that Bandura was responsible for the bobo doll studies, where an egg-shape balloon with a weight in the bottom was used, which bobbed up once knocked down (Rosenstock, et al., 1988). The experiment suggests that children imitated what was done on the doll (hitting, punching, and shouting at it) without waiting for any reward. This is where social learning theory is based, an observational learning or modeling (ibid). It suggests that both the environment and psychological factors create a kind of behavior that an individual acts upon. It states that individuals, especially children, learn and act according to what they see in the environment, which are based on imitation. They become socialized within such environment, pursuing a modeled behavior. It is then significant to point out that since children imitate values, actions, and social behavior modeled to them, it is thus, better that these actions and values are good and correct in order for them to act as valuable social beings.
The social learning theory has a continuous reciprocal interaction among behavioral, cognitive, and environmental influences. It points to us the relevance of observing and modeling in order for an individual to imitate a perceived appropriate social behavior. It has extensively been applied to understanding aggressive behaviors and how an individual may be influenced to trail the path of aggression.
The two teens who have shot and killed a tourist at an interstate rest area are said to have modeled a behavior on their environment, which is aggressive and geared toward taking the act lightly. Hence, the two teens have certainly seen this action as "cool" and "not a big deal," which likely emphasizes the same environment in which they function. It was not an overnight behavioral learning, but did require certain forms of modeling, which they perhaps acquired from watching violent television shows, playing violent computer games, being engaged in gang riots, reinforced by frequent liquor intake and prohibited drugs. Their environment signifies that such action may be committed and gotten over with quickly, in which they are unconscious of the consequences. The two youngsters themselves are representations of their own environment in which they model violent and decadent behaviors. Just like the bobo doll experiment in which the children who participated did the same unlikely acts demonstrated to them on the doll without thinking if the act is correct or otherwise, the two teens did the act out of a modeled behavior. This modeled behavior was not just simply acquired from a pigment of imagination, or out of a queer idea, but from the same modeling, which they have been seeing around and in which they were frequently exposed to. Moreover, they are active players in this environment. The imitated behavior may in fact did not allow the teens to analyze if the act of killing the tourist was right or wrong, having internalized the behavior in their own confederates and even the mass media - which support the behavior and which they perceive as normal (if not bad) and "cool" among adventurous people.
Television commercials and computer games are few of the most pervasive examples of social learning situations nowadays. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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