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Albert Bandura is a psychologist who has always been referred to as the greatest psychologist who ever lived. Bandura is most widely remembered for his contribution to the social cognitive theory and the theory of self-efficacy. His efforts are seen in the way he helped change what psychology use to emphasis from the behaviorist and the psychodynamic perspectives that psychology was emphasizing. The theory of social learning theory as was first known emphasized on another way of learning that is learning by imitation. In this research specific aspects of the theory will be discussed with more emphasis paid to the beliefs and perspectives that Albert Bandura had.
Social cognitive theory
Social learning theory is a theory dealing with behaviors and this is a very relevant and important theory in criminology. According to Albert Bandura, behavior modeling was the process through which aggression was learned and developed. In his argument, Bandura argued that people don’t inherit violent behaviors but nature and model them. He further argued that television was a great source of modeling the behaviors. This is where children learn some behaviors as they copy TV stars and models. However it is unfortunate that films and television shows air violence graphically. This violence is always a show of acceptance for a behavior. Especially for those heroes who go unpunished.
The idea that one could can be motivated to learn particular behavior by through clear observations of another person’s actions and by solidifying the learned actions (Bandura, 1977). The observer would then be motivated to through the reward of reinforcement. This proposition of social learning was further expanded and theorized by Albert Bandura in 1963 to present time. In the same year the proposition was theorized, Bandura and Walters wrote about the social learning and the development of personality. This widen the frontiers under which the theory of social learning which had the principles of observational and reinforcement.
Bandura in his attempt to further alter his theory from the social learning t social cognitive all aimed at distancing form social learning theories that is prevalent an d trying to encourage the use of cognition as it plays a major role in the people capacity to construct reality, encoding of information, self-regulation and perform behaviors. Learning by observation also referred to as the imitation process where individuals imitate other people by through observing heir behaviors (Bandura, 1977). The key component that will affect the behavior of the observer the attention aspect of the observer, how much he can retain in his entire observation process, the motor production part whereby the observer can reciprocate the other persons action and the finally the motivating factors that keep the observer motivated to continue learn thro imitation.
On attention this is the first stage of the learning process by observational means. In this case the learner cannot learn anything unless he or perceive and pay attention to what is being learned in the modeled behavior. Retention is the second component whereby the observer reproduces the information by retrieving the information learned earlier. Memory is a very important cognitive process whereby the information is coded and decoded or retrieved as required. Motor production is the stage in learning through observation. In this stage the learner is able to reproduces the model’s behavior. The last stage o observational learning is the mainly reinforcement and motivational aspects. In this stage expects to be motivated by the modeled behavior. Environmental experiences make part of the other influence that affects the social learning experience especially violence in children learned through television and films.
The other concept that Albert Bandura put across and has most recently been the focus of most psychologists is the concept of self efficacy. It popularity has been as a result of the inspiration that it gave to every field of study. The beliefs behind self efficacy have are the very foundation of the personal accomplishment and fulfillment, human motivation and the well being. There are empirically tested evidence that support the argument and beliefs that Bandura’s contention which argues that the belief in self efficacy concept touches almost if not all the aspects of the persons’ lives (Bandura, 1977). Self efficacy is also seen as the major determinant of self-regulation.
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During this period of developing of theory, Bandura realized that there was a key element was missing not only in his learning theories but also from his own learning theory. In his publication of his works on self-efficacy he identified the missing element as the self-beliefs. The publication unified the Behavioral change theory. The theory of social cognitive got further got advanced view of the human functioning which base it on the cognitive, self-regulation and the processes of self-reflection used in the human changes and adaptation (Jennifer, 2008). In this process people are viewed as proactive, self-organizing, self regulating and self-reflecting rather being shaped and shepherd by the external forces and environmental forces coupled with inner impulses.
According this perspective, the functioning of humans is seen as product that results from the dynamic interplay of behavior, personal and influences of the environment. This formed the basic foundations of Bandura’s conceptions of determinism. Some of the elements create interactions that came as a result of the triadic reciprocality. Some of the personal factors that come in form of cognitions and events that is biological in nature, behavior and environmental influence. In his argument the Bandura suggested that the behavior of humans is caused by environment at the same to argue the same environment is caused by behavior (Jennifer, 2008). This concept was referred to as the concept of reciprocal determinism. This means that the world and people’s behavior of cause each other
Researchers have however been a success in demonstrating the have give individual self efficacy success in the beliefs that had powerful influence in the attainment of success in the various field. In the recent times self-efficacy has generated a lot of the research in the diverse but related fields of medicine, athletics, social and political change among many other fields of study. Self-efficacy has however generated a lot of interest in the in the studies of educational constructs in aspects like what affects the academic achievement, what attributes to the success in academics and goal setting among other academic aspects (John & Peter, 2006). In summary it is can be seen that most the researchers have identified the beliefs and behaviors and the outcomes of the self-efficacy as highly correlated making it a perfect predictor of behavior.
With a mastery of this self-efficacy, it is possible for people to make most of chances encounters. As learned earlier having the cognitive abilities knowledge is not sufficient. The environmental effects cannot alone be used to predict how one’s life will end up. Bandura further complicated it by arguing the different reactions we give chance encounters make had for us to be able to with enough the knowledge. The analysis of the chance encounters though the analysis was intensive did however give enough information the on why self-efficacy is important in the in the way our lives are full and there might be some fortuitous (John & Peter, 2006).
Application of social cognitive theory and self-efficacy theory
The theory of social cognitive has been applied in many areas today. In marketing, mass media, public health education only to mention few. An example to illustrate this application is when celebrities when endorsing of a product being introduced to the market. However to see all the four domains in the social cognitive theory at use is by choosing gender, ethnicity and age. This social cognitive theory under proper use can be use successfully use it in the fight against HIV and AIDS. In education, Bandura theory holds a lot of implications. The concept of conditioning is useful in management of the class room. However teachers can not control the environment under which the class is situated. Teachers are however obliged to teach the students the self-efficacy. This requires an environment where they are adequately challenged while they are succeeding.
Teachers are also responsible in improving the academic learning environment and instilling confidence in the students. Effective teachers always believe in the changing the lives of the student. These teachers always have strong self-efficacy beliefs which can be evident in the way they are satisfied with their jobs, demonstrate a lot of commitment and are always not absent in the school for lessons (John & Peter, 2006). These teachers further persist in failure situations, take more risk on the curriculum, introduce new teaching approaches and motivate the students on how they can make and change their lives. Creating the educational environment that has been discussed earlier will always gives the educationalists and the student the required tools that are needed to actively be engaged in the educational matters. Having been equipped with the self-efficacy can handle the future problems and challenges like failure.
The self-regulating has been widely incorporated in the therapy techniques. One of the outstanding one is the self-control therapy where by it has been used to cure some habits like smoking, study habits and the problems of overeating. This process follows some of the steps like the behavioral charts. This self observation requires that one follows some of the actions that are made. This may involves like counting the number of cigarettes smoked in a day. Environmental planning is where on takes the lead in the knowing about the environment and how it has affected their lives knowing the changes in the environment and how they affects the live of the person under therapy treatment (Laurel, 2008).
Those who are advocating for the social learning have how however argued that the children behavior is actually modeled from the imitation and copying from other people. Their behaviors are however also affected by the environment and the mass media which have greatly changed the behaviors of some children (Laurel, 2008). This has created a heated debate on whether or not the violence aired on television and films create the aggressiveness that the children have adopted as their behavior. It has been found out specifically that cartoons are violent causing children to portray this violent behavior. This has however elicited mix reactions from the public where other people argue that cartoons are a source of humor while others have denied. This leaves the parents with a lot of responsibility of informing their children is not real.
In conclusion, the main difference that social cognitive theory that has always emphasized over the other theories of human functioning is the fact that the theory emphasis on the biological factors that are key in human development. Although the theory supports the evolution theory of in its evolutionary factors of adaptation and change while it disagrees its with social views on the as thy fails to account for the influence of social and innovation which are key in the environmental that create the necessary pressure for adaption to take place. The theory has also demonstrated to make powerful predictions that generate new useful applications that affect the large number of human behavior.
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