What Is Social Learning Theory?

Social learning theory combines cognitive learning theory (which posits that learning is influenced by psychological factors) and behavioral learning theory (which assumes that learning is based on responses to environmental stimuli). Albert Bandura integrated these two theories and came up with four requirements for learning: observation (environmental), retention (cognitive), reproduction (cognitive), and motivation (both). This integrative approach to learning was called social learning theory. 

One of the most famous experiments performed by Bandura is the famous bobo doll experiment. Children observed as adults modeled either violent or passive behavior towards the doll, and this observation was found to influence the manner in which the children subsequently interacted with the dolls. Children who observed violent behavior behaved violently toward the doll and vice versa.

Recent Posts on Social Learning Theory

8 Warning Signs Your Lover is a Narcissist

The Mayo Clinic research group defines narcissistic personality disorder as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration." How do you know when your romantic partner may be a narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

Make Social Learning Stick: How Parents Can Help Children

By Dan Peters Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in From Worrier to Warrior
For special needs children, many daily activities and experiences like getting ready for school, going to the doctor, having a play date and celebrating birthdays are very challenging. The good news: these events can become opportunities for teaching and reinforcing expected social and emotional behavior.

Are Humans Unique?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in The Human Beast
The argument for human uniqueness is of mostly historical interest. As we gained more understanding of animal behavior, we learned that their psychology has more in common with us than had been imagined previously.

How Abusive Bosses Can Destroy Teamwork

By Ray Williams on January 24, 2015 in Wired for Success
There is increasing evidence that there is a clear link between bad leaders and employee health and productivity problems, which is turn, can be a huge liability for organizations.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins: We Are Not Alone

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 02, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book called "The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins" by renowned researchers Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendall is a must read. It is perfect for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and also for a broad audience that is interested not only in whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans, but also in other animals in which culture is clearly and amply present.

4 Reasons Why Your Personality May Not Matter

How much of our behavior is caused by our personalities, and how much is caused by other factors? You might be surprised by when, how, and why personality doesn't matter.

Getting That Exercise Habit

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on October 27, 2014 in Media Spotlight
For older adults, staying the course means developing confidence that the exercise program is helping you stay healthy and that you are making progress in meeting the health goals you set or yourself when you started. The key is to develop a feeling of self-efficacy about staying fit. A new research study explores what works best to motivate people to exercise.

Sibling Sex and Gender Inequality

Interacting with other-sex siblings, especially older siblings, instills gender-atypical interests and attitudes, potentially promoting gender egalitarianism in adulthood. However, parents gender-stereotype their children more when they have at least one child of each sex, pushing gender-stereotypical behavior and recreating adult gender inequalities in leisure and pay.

Sexing the Autistic Brain: Extreme Male?

By Daniel Voyer Ph.D. on October 10, 2014 in Perceptual Asymmetries
If you went to Mars would you find men and individuals with ASD? A look at the extreme male brain theory of ASD. Co-authored with Barbara D’Entremont, Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada.

Three Reasons Why We Shouldn't Confuse Selfies with Vanity

By Dara Greenwood Ph.D. on September 30, 2014 in Mirror, Mirror
Everywhere you turn, someone is worrying about or debating the perceived epidemic levels of vanity and narcissism thought to motivate selfies and other forms of self-oriented social media behavior. However, framing the issue as one of superficial self-aggrandizement may be neither accurate nor useful. Here are at least three reasons why...

Playing with Children: Should You, and If So, How?

By Peter Gray on September 06, 2014 in Freedom to Learn
Parent-child play is ruined when either the parent or the child dominates. Fun occurs when there is no domination in either direction. Parent-child play is not as natural, nor as crucial for the child's development, as child-child play, but it can still be fun.

Why Are We Afraid of Spiders?

By Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. on July 21, 2014 in Why We Worry
The involvement of disgust and cultural history in spider phobia suggests that such fear may have a complex origin

Life Is Cheap, if It's for Sale

Research suggests that the current system of buying and trading and selling animals “incentivizes” people to devalue animals in exchange for personal gain. This essay explores how markets lead to moral decay in relation to animals.

Does Codependence Run In Your Family?

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on June 12, 2014 in Presence of Mind
The codependent apple often falls right off a codependent family tree. Here’s what you can to avoid passing on this unhealthy family tradition.

A First-Person Perspective on Anxiety and Autism

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I interviewed Dr. Catharine Alvarez so that she could share her perspective on autism and anxiety as an adult on the autism spectrum. We hear primarily about children and teens with autism, and it's so important to hear the voices of adults who experience autism themselves.

Baby Brains: The Secrets of the Very Young

How to get a Yale diploma in a few easy steps

Infant Couch Potatoes

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on April 04, 2014 in Moral Landscapes
Should babies (0-2) be playing with tablets, watching television or videos?

Dolphin Speak: Did a Dolphin Really Say "Seaweed"?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 02, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Dolphins are in the news because of their communicative abilities and culturally transmitted tool use. It turns out that a dolphin actually whistled "seaweed" and the use of sponges by dolphins to protect their beaks when foraging can shape the genetic structure of a population of these amazing beings (called cultural hitchhiking).

Teach Your Doggies Well

By Mark Derr on March 01, 2014 in Dog's Best Friend
Mary Derr, the author's Mother, and Rocky decided to reach an accommodation rather than spend their days ignoring each other.

Recovering from Anorexia: How and Why Not to Stop Halfway

By Emily T. Troscianko on February 22, 2014 in A Hunger Artist
How do you get past the in-between stage of having regained some weight but probably not enough, past the distressing limbo between sickness and health? What do you do when you know you're not well again yet but you fear going any further?

What Truly Successful People Know That You Don't

Successful people do not have boundless energy or superhuman capabilities.They have just figured out how to work smarter, rather than harder. They understand the secrets of willpower, and know how to schedule their priorities, rather than prioritize their schedules. They take time to replenish their energy & nurture relationships. Find out how you can do this too!

Diversity in Elder Abuse

By Mario D Garrett PhD on September 28, 2013 in iAge
There is no culture that allows for the derogation of our elders. And there is an urgency to elder abuse cases. The victims have a high--natural in most cases--mortality.

Women Who Hate Other Women: The Psychological Root of Snarky

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on September 24, 2013 in Insight Is 20/20
As a male psychologist, I am occasionally surprised by the degree of spite some women feel toward other women they don't know well. While I don't blame the women, I do believe the culture is largely responsible.

The Relational Styles of Men and Women

By Gregg Henriques on September 11, 2013 in Theory of Knowledge
Clarifying the ways men and women tend to differ in how they think about and process relational material.

It Takes a Wise Bird to Show the Way

By Virginia Morell on August 29, 2013 in Animal Wise
Older birds are wiser birds. A new study shows that migratory whooping cranes rely on social learning and practice to develop their flight paths.

The Real Meaning of 'Good' and 'Evil'

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on August 26, 2013 in Out of the Darkness
What do we mean when we talk about 'good' and 'bad'? What makes 'good' people different from so-called 'evil' people'? 'Good' qualities like altruism, benevolence and self-sacrifice stem from an ability to empathise with other human beings. 'Evil' qualities like oppression and exploitation stem from a lack of empathy. Empathy - and therefore 'goodness' - can be cultivated.

Are Research Psychologists More Like Detectives or Lawyers?

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on July 22, 2013 in Cui Bono
Textbook models of the scientific method indicate that research psychologists are to act like objective, dispassionate detectives, tracking down facts to arrive at the truth. Evidence of the actual behavior of researchers suggests that, in reality, they act more like lawyers, searching for evidence to persuade others of a presumed truth.

Human Herding: How People are Like Guppies

Like guppies and many other species, humans herd in order to obtain resources and evade threats. But while herding seems like a safe and prudent strategy to the individuals doing it, it can create massive risks for societies that depend on market economies.

Exercise Anxiety

Although I enjoy exercising outdoors, safety concerns deter me from visiting local woodlands. Studies suggest that many women feel the same.

The Bat of the Shadow: Batman's Role Models

Who were Batman's role models? Which theories in psychology might best address the ways in which people in life (his parents, their butler, a pacifist physician), fictional masked men of mystery (Zorro, the Shadow), and others influenced this frightened boy who, praying by his bedside a few nights after his parents died before his very eyes, became an avenger on a mission?