Essay Example on Social Cognitive Theory: Learning Through Observation

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  550 Words
Date:  2022-12-27

Alex Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory explains how people learn from their environment while also being an influence on their environment as well. The theory explains that people can learn from observation and later replicate what they saw. For example, one can imitate an aggressive behavior seen exhibited by another individual. One is likely to repeat the behavior if they see a reward, or desist from behavior that results in punishment. Observational learning is a key component of the theory where people tend to reproduce desirable and undesirable behaviors observed in others. One's self-efficacy is a determining factor on whether or not one was going to imitate behavior. In a famous Bobo Doll experiment, male exhibited violent behavior that they observed as opposed to the female who was less aggressive. The social cognitive theory explains how one's behavior can be affected by the things that they observe in others. One can be motivated to endure the same process they observed in others like them that succeeded from their efforts. It is a concept used in motivational speaking where people are encouraged to follow a similar path to success. The media also provides observational material that one has to be careful of its influence.

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Julian Rotter's Social Learning theory explains how the cognitive process works in the interaction between the environment and personal traits. According to the theory, one places expectations in a trait and also places values on the outcome of the trait. It means that one will act in a certain manner depending on the expected outcome and the value that he or she has on the outcome. People's experiences determine how they react to the environment. The two controlling factors in one's personality, how people think of themselves and the environment affecting them, will determine their behavior. Examples can be seen in how people have different approaches to health and also in job performance. People will react differently to the same thing that they observe in their environment based on their experiences. The experiences determine their cognition and thus control how they would respond to their environment. Congruently, one's reaction to an environment will also affect how another reacts to an environment. It is epitomized in a scenario where one is likely to react rudely or politely after seeing how another has responded to the same situation.


George Kelly's Philosophical Position states that reality and people's perception of reality determine their behavior. People begin to develop their own worldviews as they become adults, and they will react to situations based on what they believe the world to be. This theory is in contrast to Alex Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory which states that the environment affects behavior. George Kelly explained that the universe despite being real, people perceive it differently. It is in this different perception of the environment and events that hold the difference between personalities. It can be exemplified in a person who lives in constant fear after a road accident. Such a person would view the environment as dangerous or also place more value on life compared to one who has never been in an accident. Therefore, one's behavior is as a result of their personal construct of reality. People go about their life quest differently based on how they perceive the world and subsequent events.

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