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Social Learning: Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
Psychology of Learning
Chapter 11

Social Learning
Social learning is all learning that occurs as a result of social interaction or that is involved in finding out which behaviors are socially acceptable; both the product and process of learning
Socialization is the process of learning acceptable behaviors for different ages and sexes, specific to a culture
Processes in social learning involve imitation, or observational learning.

Main Concepts
Models are any representation of a pattern for behaving.
Through observational learning, we have ability to anticipate consequences of our behaviors, to symbolize, to figure out cause-and-effect relationships.
Models inform about how to do things and the consequences.
Observational learning involves several processes…

Attentional Processes
We have to pay attention.
The processes must have value to us.
Whether or not we pay attention depends on how distinctive, how complex, how prevalent, and how useful a behavior is.
Most effective models are those that are most attractive, most trustworthy, and most powerful.

Retentional Processes
For observational learning to occur, we must remember what we have observed.

Retention might involve the use of visual or verbal processes.

Remembering may require symbolic coding, cognitive organization, and motor rehearsal.

Motor Reproduction Processes
Imitating requires transforming images into actual behaviors, requiring some motor and physical capabilities.

Successful imitation implies the ability to monitor and correct one’s performance.

Observational learning requires self-observation and evaluation, and providing oneself with accurate feedback.

Motivational Processes
To learn by imitation, one must have a reason to learn by imitation.

Bandura’s model identifies three types of reinforcement:
    external
    Vicarious
    self-reinforcement
Sources of Reinforcement in Imitation
An imitative behavior is, in effect, an operant.
Being imitated may be reinforcing for the imitated.

Classical Conditioning
Many of the emotional responses associated with models are acquired through classical conditioning

Conditioned emotional reactions (CERs) can be both positive and negative.

Both positive and negative CERs may strongly influence the likelihood that model will be imitated.

Effects of Models
Symbolic models are much more prominent in today’s technological society.
The modeling effect involves acquisition of novel responses.
The disinhibitory effect involves engaging in a previously inhibited deviant behavior as a result of observing a model
The inhibitory effect involves refraining from deviant behavior because of watching a model.
The eliciting effect involves behaviors merely related to the model’s, instead of matching the behavior precisely.

Synthesis of Condition and Cognition
In operant learning, the ability to think, symbolize, see cause-effect relationships, and anticipate consequences is most important.
Although punishments and rewards affect behavior, they do not control behavior.
Reinforcement effects are largely a function of cognitive processes such as awareness of relationships and expectations of outcomes that might span well into the future.

Behavior Control Systems
Bandura believes that it is impossible to classify behavior as resulting from either internal or external stimuli but that behavior results from three separate control systems.
Stimulus control systems are reflexive acts responses learned through reinforcement.
Outcome control systems involve behavior learned through operant conditioning.
Symbolic control systems involve behavior influenced by internal processes, such as thoughts or self-instructions.

Agentic Perspective
People can only be agents of their actions if they perform actions intentionally = intentionality.
Intentionality implies planning and anticipation = forethought.
People motivate themselves and guide their own actions in anticipation of future events = self-reactiveness and self-reflection.
Conclusion: We are the agents of our own actions!

Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is an individual’s assessments of personal effectiveness.
Judgments of self-efficacy are not always accurate but influence our behavior anyway in four distinct ways:
Enactive: direct effects of behavior
Vicarious: effects of comparisons with others
Persuasory: effects of persuasion
Emotive: effects of emotion
Effects of our behaviors on others, or their effects in a more objective sense, often tell us how effective we are.

Educational Implications
Teachers should teach through modeling, discourage bad behavior through the inhibitory effect, and encourage behaviors through the eliciting effect
Controlling behavior:
    Teachers should establish clear rules and routines.
    Teachers should exercise praise and criticism, as well as other reinforcers and punishers, at appropriate times.
    Remember that a student’s ability to symbolize and anticipate consequences of behaviors influences her behavior.
    Importance of positive sense of self-efficacy:
    Teachers should present children with tasks that allow them to experience success.
    Teachers should provide students with their own learning goals so that they can work individually, cooperatively, and at their own pace.
    Teachers should use their persuasory influences wisely, to maximize confidence and minimize doubt.
    Teachers should provide stimulation in the classroom that provides optimum levels of arousal.

Critique
Serves an important bridge between behavioristic and cognitive theories.
Reflects past and present research findings well.
Has useful practical application.
Has stimulated research.
Is a forerunner in the field of social learning theory.