Approaches - PsychBug

Approaches - PsychBug

AQA AS and year 1 Approaches Origins of psychology

Learning approach Cognitive approach Biological approach

2016 Psychbug www.psychbug.co.uk Social learning Theory (SLT)

Bandura agreed with the behaviourists that behaviour is learnt through experience however

he proposed a different mechanism than conditioning. He argued that we learn through observation and imitation of others behaviour.

Therefore this theory focuses not only on the behaviour itself but also on the mental processes involved in learning so it is not a pure

behaviourist theory. www.psychbug.co.uk

Imitation is more likely to occur if the model (the person who performs the behaviour) is positively reinforced. This is

called vicarious reinforcement. Imitation is more likely to occur if we identify with the model. We

see them as sharing some characteristics with us i.e. similar age, gender, social status.

Stages of SLT Attention Retention

the individual needs to pay attention to the behaviour and its consequences. The individual stores the observed behaviour in

LTM where it can stay for a long period of time. Imitation is not always immediate. Reproducti

on The individual must be able (have the ability and skills) to reproduce the observed behaviour.

Motivation The individual must expect to receive the same positive reinforcements for imitating the

observed behaviour that they have seen the model receiving. www.psychbug.co.uk

Evaluation of SLT It has experimental support: The Bobo doll experiment shows that

children are more likely to imitate models who are rewarded for their behaviour (vicarious reinforcement).

It does not take into account the influence of biological factors on behaviour i.e. the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and

dopamine. Most of the support for SLT comes from laboratory experiments which is a

strength as they are well controlled. However the results might be influenced by demand characteristics. The artificiality of the talks and the

environment may not reflect the way people learn in everyday life. It can be used to explain cultural

differences in behaviour. It is a more complete explanation of human behaviour than conditioning as it takes into account cognitive factors in

learning. However it does not take into account free will and moral values. It can be used to explain the influence of

media on behaviour. www.psychbug.co.uk

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