Describe the Social Learning Theory of Aggression

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1b: Describe the social learning theory of aggression The social learning theory of aggression aims to explain how behaviour can be explained not just by our own direct experiences but through observations of the experiences of other people (learning through observation, imitation and modelling). This theory is a behaviourist approach created by Albert Bandura who aimed to explain how children imitated aggressive behaviour or acts. SLT takes into account the thought process of an individual- unlike operant and classical conditioning. Bandura argued that children imitate aggressive acts through four processes; the first of process is attention where the model is being observed rather then just present. The second being retention where the observer must remember what they have seen or learnt. The third is reproduction where the observer must be capable of doing the behaviour they have seen and finally motivation- the observer must have a reason to perform the new action. Psychologists abbreviate this to ‘ARRM’. For example a child may pay attention to an adult acting aggressively; the child would then retain this information so as to remember it. The child would now reproduce the behaviour which it is capable of doing so and finally the child must be motivated to perform the new action- in this case the child may look up to or idolise the adult. Bandura also stated that children are more likely to imitate behaviour if the aggressive model is of the following; * Same gender * The same age or older * To the individual- of high status * To the individual- likeable Bandura also detailed how vicarious learning can increase or decrease the imitation of aggressive acts by seeing another person get punished for the same kind of behaviour meaning we are less likely to do it ourselves. This is called vicarious punishment. The SLT of aggression is

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