THEORY OF SOCIAL TRAINING ALBERT BANDURA, Introduction to the theory of social learning Albert Bandura, Learning through imitation - Child psychology


As a result of mastering this topic, the student must:


• the concept of the behavior model and its main characteristics;

• Basic strategies for reinforcing behavior;

• the ability to correct behavior from the position of A. Bandura;

be able to

• Analyze the application of the principle of learning through imitation;

• Consider the child's aggressive behavior from the position of A. Bandura's theory;


• The skills of analyzing the practical application of A. Bandura's theory.

Introduction to the theory of social learning of Albert Bandura

The theory of social learning of a Canadian psychologist Λ. Pandora refers to behavioral theories. At the same time, it also takes into account the achievements of cognitive psychology. In this sense, this point of view belongs to theories of a higher level than classical behaviorism. A. Bandura noted that psychologists studying child development explain the child's behavioral features by internal factors, i.e. stimulating forces belonging to the individual (his needs and motives). Such an approach, in his opinion, can explain the child's behavior within certain limits, since he has limitations connected with the difficulty of constructing forecasts.

Learning through imitation

After studies of behaviorists, it became clear to many psychologists that the child's behavior is determined by the characteristics of the external environment. As a result, behavior began to be considered as a result of the action of external (environmental) and internal (motivational) factors. From the point of view of the theory of social learning, a person's behavior does not just depend on the person's personal characteristics or environmental conditions, but itself acts as one of the factors of child development. In other words, people perform this or that action not only on the basis of internal forces or external stimuli, but often the self-executed action becomes the reason for changing the subsequent behavior. Moreover, many learning phenomena are not based on motivation or reinforcement, but on observing the behavior of others.

Albert Bandura considered the mental activity of children as an activity aimed at gaining knowledge from various sources surrounding the child. He believed that children not only acquire information, but they can also make plans for the future, present possible consequences of their actions. Classical behaviorists considered the emergence of new forms of behavior as a result of encouraging desired actions on the part of adults. The position of social cognition assumes that new forms of behavior arise from the active imitation or modeling of what the children see around them. From the point of view of A. Bandura, new behavior arises not so much through learning by trial and error, but through learning through observation of the performance of various actions by other people. For example, in the development of speech behavior, learning through imitation is given a decisive role. Indeed, children are born with a limited set of sound activity, which over time changes, allowing you to build very complex speech constructs. It is unlikely that a child himself invents new speech forms, which then are reinforced or not by others. It is obvious that he reproduces them by imitation.

The psychologist does not deny the role of reinforcement in the performance of various actions. He notes that a person, after performing the action, soon enough begins to understand whether it leads him to success or not. Due to the consequences to which behavior leads, the repertoire of actions is differentiated, and its ineffective forms are discarded. The consequences of performing actions implement several functions. First of all, they inform the subject about the effectiveness of behavior. During the observation of the performance of the action, the child not only notices the effect produced by him, but also constructs hypotheses about what reactions in this situation are more preferable. Effective actions later enter the child's behavioral repertoire. However, behavior change occurs only if the child understands what exactly is effective in this situation. Since understanding is a cognitive process, it largely determines learning through the consequences of actions. If the child's cognitive sphere is not sufficiently developed, then the child will not be able to obtain adequate information, and therefore evaluate the effectiveness of the actions, and behavior changes will not occur.

In addition to information, the consequences of performing actions perform a motivational function. If the child represents the consequences to which this or that action will lead, the anticipation of the results will stimulate or, on the contrary, hinder his behavior.

Albert Bandura stressed that children want to reproduce what they saw, and they often do it right on the first attempt. In some cases, many attempts are required to achieve the right result. However, the child always, in the opinion of Pandora, wants to "do the same", and not gradually approach his ideal.

For many teachers, the very fact that children try to imitate someone is quite obvious. For A. Bandura, imitation acts as the main form of learning. In this case, one who observes the behavior of another does not receive reinforcement, so this teaching was called learning without reinforcement. At the same time, children imitate not only socially approved samples, but also behaviors that do not directly satisfy any need. Bandura and other supporters of the position of social knowledge specially conducted experiments in which children could imitate various actions. For example, children were shown a film with scenes of aggressive behavior. It turned out that after watching such a film the number of aggressive actions in children increased. The data obtained show that although the children were not specifically instructed to learn how to act in accordance with the samples presented, a so-called secondary learning occurred.

The scientist noted that children observe a variety of behavior patterns and can reproduce their various combinations. Most often they turn to the previously seen patterns of behavior in the new complex situations, the experience of which they simply do not have. According to A. Bandura, with the development of video technologies, the number of models that children can imitate has expanded. They had the opportunity to go beyond their culture. For example, preschoolers can imitate patterns of behavior that are offered in computer games or demonstrated by characters in feature films. Thus, the child's behavior is the result of a complex combination of patterns that he encounters in everyday life and that are broadcast by the media.

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