The Social Learning Theory of
• Discuss
▫ What can cause children to behave aggressively?
Social Learning Theory (SLT)
• Social learning is learning through observation,
imitation and modelling or another person or role
• Created by Albert Bandura
▫ It is behaviourist, but does take into
account thought processes
▫ Therefore it is also cognitive
• Who do you look up to? Who is your role model?
Have you ever observed a behaviour that you have
then copied?
Social Learning Theory
• According the Bandura, there are 3 processes
involved with Social Learning
• Observation
• Mental Representation
• Maintenance through direct
• Mnemonic?
• Jane dyes her hair pink because her favourite
celebrity has done so.
▫ First Jane observed what the celebrity had done
▫ Jane then made a mental representation of this
information and the rewards it brought to her
favourite celebrity
▫ Jane reproduced this behaviour and if she received
praise for her new look, it would be maintained by
direct experience
Social Learning Theory
• Using the three processes involved in social
learning as outlined by Bandura, explain why a
young girl may imitate her mother putting on
Factors involved in SLT
• The more similar the role model is to
the observer, the more likely that
the behaviour will be imitated
▫ Same gender
▫ Same age or older
• Also, if the role model is seen in a
positive light
▫ High status
▫ Likeable
• For the case of the little girl on the previous page,
which of these factors might have made her more
likely to copy her mother’s behaviour?
Vicarious Learning
• Bandura stated that we are also influenced by
observing the consequences of another person’s
▫ Come up with an example for each of the following:
 Vicarious reinforcement
 Vicarious punishment
 Vicarious extinction
Applying Social Learning
Theory to Aggression
▫ Using the three aspects of SLT (OMM, factors
involved in SLT and vicarious learning) explain how
children might become aggressive. Think about
which models children might learn this behaviour
Applying Social Learning Theory to
• Children observe and learn from role models
▫ At home (family)
▫ At school (other children)
▫ The media (TV, films, games)
• They learn which behaviours
are worth repeating
• They have a mental
representation of events they
observe, and can anticipate
reward and punishment.
Applying Social Learning Theory to
• Explain how operant conditioning can maintain an
aggressive behaviour that has been learned through
social learning. Give an example to demonstrate your
• Evidence for SLT of aggression
▫ Bandura’s experiments on children
▫ Bobo doll experiment
• Watch the video, and briefly describe what behaviour
the children showed. Does this support or contradict
the social learning theory of aggression?
Applying Social Learning Theory to
• A later experiment (Bandura and Walters 1963)
showed children consequences of the adult’s
▫ The model was rewarded for their behaviour
▫ The model was punished for their behaviour
▫ The model received neither punishment or reward
• Fill in the blanks with the following words
“vicarious punishment”, “vicarious reinforcement”.
Applying Social Learning Theory to
• Using social learning theory, come up with an
explanation of the riots that occurred throughout
England during the summer. Make sure to use key
terms (models, vicarious reinforcement, ARRM etc).
Continue on the back of the paper if you need
• TASK (Exam Focus: Essay Structure pg. 5)
▫ Using the scaffolding above (as well as the “How to
answer exam questions” hand-out), complete an
answer to the following question.
▫ 1b: Describe the social learning theory of
aggression (8)