Outline one Social Psychological Theory of Aggression Aggression is the intent to harm someone through verbal or physical actions. Bandura was the founder of Social Learning Theory (SLT) which suggests that children learn aggressive behaviour by observing other’s acting aggressively. They learn through either direct reinforcement, where the individual themselves are rewarded or punished for their own behaviour, or through watching others being rewarded or punished for their aggressive acts, (vicarious reinforcement). As a result, aggressive behaviour may repeat if a child receives a reward or witnesses a role model getting positively reinforced after committing an aggressive act and consequently imitates this behaviour to also seek the reward. SLT is supported by Bandura et al (1963), who found that children who observed an adult role model behaving aggressively towards a Bobo doll were more likely to reproduce these behaviours when later allowed to interact with the doll alone, children even improvised their own violent methods towards the doll.
Firstly, the child observes a model displaying a certain behaviour. If the child pays attention to the behaviour been modelled, they will repeat (imitate) the behaviour, and it will be practised and eventually interlised. It is thought that we are more likely to copy the behaviour is we see the model like ourselves, as well as if the person has a higher status then ourselves, as we have a desire to be like them. However there are many cognitive factors between the stage of observing the behaviour and imitating the behaviour, this is known as mediating cognitive factors and there are 4 steps. Stage 1 is attention, the observer pays attention to the model, stage 2 is memory, this is an effect of how much attention was given to the models behaviour, if the observer remembers the behaviour enough then the behaviour will be recalled, the observer also assesses their own ability and asked themselves if they are capable of carrying out that particular behaviour.
Learning Theories and Crime Research relating to the social learning theory explains that people learn more effectively through his or her interaction with other individuals on a specific topic (Pfohl, 1994). Learning involves knowledge that is developed through experiences involving individual environments. Social Learning theory incorporates the principles of operant conditioning and observational learning. The interactions that influence learning may result from experiences with peers, friends, family and figures of authority (Pfohl.1994). Social learning theories relate to the explanation of risk factors involving the social processes and individuals prone to criminal activity.
There are many theories into the cause of aggression. Many reasons why people suddenly become bad people. There has to be a reason why a normal person like you and me suddenly becomes 'bad'. One theory for aggressive behaviour is the social learning theory. Social learning theory states that we learn behaviours, including aggression, by imitating successful role models.
Boys are lead to believe they need to be stronger and more emotionless then girls. Children learn from their adult surroundings (Cervantes & Callanan, 1998 pg.96). "These findings suggest that children, early on, are learning to converse and think about emotions in gender-specific ways" (Cervantes & Callanan, 1998 pg.89), Boys and girls show emotional differences in problem solving, facial decoding, and emotion management. Children deal with social situations in concordance to the expectations society has set for them. These expectations allow them hide negative emotions and express positive emotions.
Allowing children to be able to think independently and create their own behavior can be an effective way to allow for more autonomy, improving their motivation in many areas and get the confidence to achieve better grades in school. Pink explains that “A sense of autonomy has a powerful effect on individual performance and attitude” (88). Many parents will choose to raise and will motivate their children by how they were brought up as a child. While this may seem like a great way to raise a child, it could control motivation and behavior with the experience of pressure and demand. Parents might want to consider teaching their children about autonomous motivation which promotes greater conceptual understanding, better grades, enhanced persistence at school and in sporting activities, higher productivity, less burnout, and greater levels of psychological well-being.
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory suggests that acts of aggression are learnt through the observation of role models. His original “Bobo Doll” study showed that when exposed to aggressive behaviour small children copied this behaviour, not just by being physically aggressive but even copying the verbally aggressive behaviour. However this study focuses on children who are supposed to learn in this manner, this doesn’t demonstrate that this would also be true in older children or adults who already have a set moral compass that would interfere with copying aggressive behaviours. However Bandura’s later study showed that if children saw someone get punished for aggressive behaviour they were less likely to be aggressive themselves when they were allowed to play with the bobo doll but if they saw someone get rewarded for this aggressive behaviour then they were much more likely to act aggressively themselves, this shows that vicarious reinforcement is important to the learning of aggression through the social learning theory, as receiving direct positive reinforcement leads to people having high self efficacy making them very likely to repeat the aggressive behaviour that they were rewarded for. In terms of aggression this reward could come in many forms such as acceptance from a violent gang they want to be a part of or just attention from a parent or teacher.
DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH BANDURA Background: Albert Bandura is best known for developing the Social Leaning Theory (SLT), an approach to child development that says children learn behaviours by observing those around them and then imitating them. The SLT agrees slightly with the behaviourist perspective, that is it tries to explain the cause of behaviour by studying only behaviours that can be observed by others. However the SLT also believes that cognitive processes need to be studied in order for us to understand behaviour. Aim: To see if children will observe a behaviour (in this case aggression) and then imitate it when they have the opportunity. Hypotheses: This study has four hypotheses: 1) Children who see an aggressive act will imitate it.
The second level which is known as the “conventional level” is associated with teen age group. Lawrence Kohlberg states that “young people lose some of their selfishness as they learn to define right and wrong in terms of what pleases parents and conforms to cultural norms. In our activity, the young coworkers maybe in this stage of their moral development and may be socially aware of how their conversation may affect the people around them, but are still learning to conform to them in an act of social rebellion. Sigmund Freud had also developed 3 human personality models that can be applied to this activity. One of the three examples is called “superego”, this is attributed to cultural values and norms internalized by an individual.
However, the theory has some weaknesses, as there are criticisms with the theory and its studies. In 1961, Bandura et al. conducted a study that was critical to Social Learning Theory since it clearly displayed humans observing and imitating behaviour. Bandura hoped to discover whether children would imitate violence demonstrated by adults and if they were more likely to imitate adults of their own sex. A group of 36 boys and 36 girls of ages three to six were split into three groups.