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Running head: Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura: Social Cognizance

In the world of psychology developmental theorist are considered key to help figure out
the development of the human mind and life cycle. Those theorists generally only deal with
personal development though. We have all heard of Freud, Erikson and Piaget, and their theories
towards the person. What about social developmental theory? Enter Albert Bandura and his far
reaching theory about society and its role in personal development.
Banduras theories involve observational learning, and are done in four steps:
1) Attention- In order for an individual to learn anything, he or she must pay attention to the features of the
modeled behavior. Many factors contribute to the amount of attention one pays to the modeled activities,
such as the characteristics of both the observer and the person being observed and competing stimuli.
2) Retention- If an individual is to be influenced by observing behaviors he or she needs to remember the
activities that were modeled at one time or another. Imagery and language aid in this process of retaining
information. Humans store the behaviors they observe in the form of mental images or verbal descriptions,
and are then able to recall the image or description later to reproduce the activity with their own behavior.
3) Reproduction- Reproduction involves converting symbolic representations into appropriate actions.
Behavioral reproduction is accomplished by organizing one's own responses in accordance with the
modeled pattern. A person's ability to reproduce a behavior improves with practice.
4) Motivation- To imitate a behavior, the person must have some motivating factor behind it, such as
incentives that a person envisions. These imagined incentives act as reinforces. Negative reinforces
discourage the continuation of the modeled activity. (Moore, 1999)

Running head: Albert Bandura

Bandura melds both cognitive and behavioral development together to form his theory.
He also feels that the personality is a mixture of environmental and self-psychologies. These
merge together to form self-regulation, a process combined of three steps:
1) Self observation- Humans look at themselves and their behavior and keep track of their actions.
2) Judgment- Humans compare these observations with standards. These standards can be rules set by
society, or standards that the individual sets for him or herself.
3) Self response- If, after judging himself or herself, the person does well in comparison with the set
standards, he or she will give him or her- self a rewarding self-response. If the person does poorly he or she
then administers a punishing self-response to him or herself. (Moore, 1999)

Possibly the most famous of Banduras experiments was the Bobo the doll experiment
Bandura included an adult who is tasked to act aggressively toward a Bobo Doll while the children observe him.
Later, Bandura let the children play inside a room with the Bobo Doll. He affirmed that these children imitated the
aggressive behavior toward the doll, which they had observed earlier. (Sincero, 2011)

Essentially this theory goes to show that children learn in part by observing adults or role
models. While Freud believes that children develop at their own pace going through stages,
Bandura believes observation is key. This is an important theory because it shows how much
their environment influences humans. These environmental influences will shape each person
into who they grow up to become. (Bandura, 1989)
As a child the most influential people would be the parents. They are the role models,
care givers and the ones who usher us into society and beyond. For me, the one I took most of
my social cues from was my father. He is a stubborn man who held cynical beliefs about the
world. But the odd thing is, even with all of his cynicism, he could still be a pleasant person,
even making five minute friends. As I observed this, I too became cynical, but also had the
ability to talk to anybody. These would be factors of the environment. (Bandura, 1989) This

Running head: Albert Bandura

affected me greatly going through life. I too was stubborn. I developed my cynicism at an
alarming rate through my observations. Only when I faced repercussions did I choose to alter any
behavior. (Bandura, 1989)
But the wonderful thing about growing into your own person is you also have the ability
to change who you are. As I grew older, I also became aware of my actions. Sometime around
the age of thirty I had decided that being cynical and stubborn all the time could not be as
beneficial as I had once believed. There is a developmental theory for this,
The adult brain seems to be capable of rewiring itself well into middle age, incorporating decades of experiences and
behaviors. Research suggests, for example, the middle-aged mind is calmer, less neurotic and better able to sort
through social situations. Some middle-agers even have improved cognitive abilities. (Phillips, 2011)

As I grew I felt a yearning to change who I was. Not just for societal standards, but for
my own. These changes continue to this day, and will until I no longer posses the cognitive
ability to do so. These are the chances that positively change me now. Bandura, and even
Erikson, Freud and Piaget may have come up with the theories that molded my early life, and
Eriksons theories extend through out life. (McLeod, 2013) But it was my decision to change that
made these alterations. Then again, maybe I truly and just following the exact process that all
humans follow.

Running head: Albert Bandura

Bandura, A. (1989). Social Cognitive Theory. Stanford University. Palo Alto:
Stanford University.
McLeod, S. (2013).
Retrieved 4 30, 2016, from
Moore, A. (1999, 5).

Running head: Albert Bandura
Retrieved 4 2016, from
Phillips, M. (2011, 4). The Mind at Midlife. American Psychological Assoiation
42 (4), p. 38.
Sincero, S. (2011, 1 25).
Retrieved 4 29, 2016, from