The Canadian born American psychologist, Albert Bandura – the father of social cognitive theory, and best-known for his modeling study on aggression which many know through the “Bobo doll” experiment, showed that children can learn behaviors through the observation of adults. Bandura is also known for his social learning theory, and the concept of self-efficacy. He is a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and is known to be one of the greatest psychologists.
Albert Bandura’s Biography
Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925, Mundare, Alberta, Canada. Bandura was the youngest of six children, and was born to parents of eastern European descent. His father was from Krakow, Poland, and his mother was from Ukraine. Both parents immigrated to Canada as adolescents (Jeanette L. Nolen, 2018). Albert attended a small school where teachers and textbook were short in supply (Kristine M. Krapp, 2005). Bandura graduated high school in 1946, and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia. He graduated in 1949 with the Bolocan Award in Psychology and was awarded to be an outstanding student in psychology. Shortly after he graduated, Albert worked at the University of Iowa where he later received a master’s degree in psychology in 1951 (Jeanette L. Nolen, 2018). In 1952 one year after he earned his master degree, he got doctorate in clinical psychology. Bandura’s continue to be self-motivated that in 1953 Bandura accepted a one-year instructorship at Stanford University where he secured professorship. David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology was a named given to Albert in 1974, and after two years he became chairman of the psychology department (Jeanette L. Nolen, 2018).
The Bobo Doll Experiment
Richard Walters was one of Bandura’s first graduate, together they studied family background of very aggressive delinquents. One of the affecting factors of aggression among teens depended if the parents were hostile or aggressive. Bandura and Walter published a book called Adolescent Aggression which described the research on the topic. Bandura (1961) conducted study was designed to be able to demonstrate that children imitate behaviors that are done by adults around them. There were 36 boys and 36 girls attending the Stanford University Nursery School. The ages range from 37 to 69 months (Bandura, 1961). The children were already pre-tested and observed on how aggressive their behavior was on a four 5-point rating scale. Then, they used match pair design to be able to have groups of similar levels of aggression.
There were 36 boys and 36 girls attending the Stanford University Nursery School. The ages range from 37 to 69 months. Then, they used match pair design to be able to have groups of similar levels of aggression. There were 24 children in the aggressive model, 24 in the non-aggressive, and 24 no model shown, which the control condition was. There were two adults; men and female which were considered to be the “model” and one female experimenter who conducted the study for all 72 children (Albert Bandura, D. Ross, ; S. A. Ross, 1961). The children were divided into eight different experimental groups of six subjects, half were exposed to aggressive models and the half were expose a nonaggressive behavior environment. The experimenter explained to the model that there were materials provided for the model to play with and after the model was seated the experimenter left the room. In the nonaggressive condition the adult model played with the toys in a quietly manner not paying any mind to the Bobo doll. Unlike the aggressive condition, the adult model began playing with the tinker toys and shortly after turned towards the Bobo doll showed their aggression towards it. And the third group known as the control group were not exposed to any model at all.
Albert Bandura, D.Ross, ; S.A. Ross (1961) found the following:
“Imitative learning can be clearly demonstrated if a model performs sufficiently novel patterns of responses which are unlikely to occur independently of the observation of the behavior of a model and if a subject reproduces these behaviors in substantially identical form.”
After the children have been exposed to those experience the experimenter takes them to another room. In this room they have the same relatively attractive toys – a fire engine, a loco motive, a jet fighter plane, a cable car, a colorful spinning top, and a doll set complete with wardrobe, doll carriage, and baby crib. As soon as the children were going to start to play, the experimenter tells them those are one of his best toys and she has reserved them for other children. The children will still be able to play with another set of toys that were in the next room.
Test for Delayed Imitation
In the next room there were some aggressive toys and some of the non-aggressive toys. The non-aggressive toys were a tea set, crayons, and plastic farm animals. The aggressive toys included a mallet and peg board, dart guns, and 3 foot Bobo doll. The children were left for 20 minutes and within those 20 minutes their behaviors were being observed. The session was divivded into 5 seconds intervals, therefore giving 240 response units for each child (Albert Bandura, D.Ross, ; S.A. Ross (1961). Three measures were obtain: Imitation of physical aggression, Imitative verbal aggression, and Imitative nonaggressive aggression. The children with aggression used the mallet to hit the Bobo doll, sat on it, punched the Bobo doll, and nominative physical and verbal aggression towards the Bobo doll.
It’s important to understand that children who observed the model being aggressive towards the Bobo doll made far more imitative aggression responses than those who were in the control or control groups. If the model was male, girl intend to show more physical aggressive responses, but if the model were to be a female the girls would be more verbal aggressive. The effects of gender were reversed in this case. In Albert Bandura, D. Ross, & S.A. Ross (1961) findings, supports Bandura’s (1977) Social Learning Theory. Social behavior like aggression can be learned through observation learning by watching the behaviors of other.
Evaluations: Advantages and Limitations