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Born: December 4, 1925 (age 91)

Mundare, Alberta, Canada
Nationality: Canadian/American
Fields: Psychology, Philosophy of
Institutions: Stanford University
Alma mater: University of British Columbia
University of Iowa
Known for: Social cognitive theory
Social learning theory
Bobo doll experiment
Human agency
Reciprocal determinism
Influences: Robert Sears, Clark Hull, Kenneth
Spence, Arthur Benton. Neal Miller
Influenced: Cognitive psychology, Social
Born in Mundare, in Alberta, an open town of roughly four hundred inhabitants, as the
youngest child, and only son, in a family of six.
Bandura is of Ukrainian descent.
His parents were immigrants from Poland who emphasized the value of education.
Bandura's parents were a key influence in encouraging him to seek ventures out of the
small hamlet they resided in.
The summer after finishing high school, Bandura worked in the Yukon to protect the
Alaska Highway against sinking.
Bandura later credited his work in the northern tundra as the origin of his interest in
human psychopathology.
It was in this experience in the Yukon, where he was exposed to a subculture of drinking
and gambling, which helped broaden his perspective and scope of views on life.
Bandura arrived in the US in 1949 and was naturalized in 1956.
He married Virginia Varns (19212011) in 1952, and they raised two daughters, Carol and
Bandura graduated in three years, in 1949, with a B.A. from the University of British
Columbia, winning the Bolocan Award in psychology.
Bandura then moved to the then-epicenter of theoretical psychology, the University of
Iowa, from where he obtained his M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D. in 1952.
Bandura came to support a style of psychology which sought to investigate
psychological phenomena through repeatable, experimental testing.

Upon graduation, he completed his postdoctoral internship at the Wichita Guidance
Center. The following year, 1953, he accepted a teaching position at Stanford
University, which he holds to this day.
In 1974, he was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA),
which is the world's largest association of psychologists.
Bandura was initially influenced by Robert Sears' work on familial antecedents of social
behavior and identificatory learning.
In collaboration with Richard Walters, his first doctoral student, he engaged in studies of
social learning and aggression.
Their joint efforts illustrated the critical role of modeling in human behavior and led to a
program of research into the determinants and mechanisms of observational learning.
Modeling - A behavior modification technique that involves observing the behavior of
others (the models) and participating with them in performing the desired behavior.

Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways. This is illustrated
during the famous Bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961).
Individuals that are observed are called models. In society, children are surrounded by
many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on childrens TV,
friends within their peer group and teachers at school.
Theses models provide examples of behavior to observe and imitate, e.g. masculine
and feminine, pro and anti-social etc.
Children pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behavior.
At a later time they may imitate (i.e. copy) the behavior they have observed.
They may do this regardless of whether the behavior is gender appropriate or not, but
there are a number of processes that make it more likely that a child will reproduce the
behavior that its society deems appropriate for its sex.
First, the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar
to itself. Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behavior modeled by people of the
same sex.
Second, the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either
reinforcement or punishment.
If a child imitates a models behavior and the consequences are rewarding, the child is
likely to continue performing the behavior. If parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy
bear and says what a kind girl you are, this is rewarding for the child and makes it
more likely that she will repeat the behavior. Her behavior has been reinforced (i.e.
Through modeling, by observing the behavior of a model and repeating the behavior
ourselves, it is possible to acquire responses that we have never performed or displayed
previously and to strengthen or weaken existing responses.
The subjects in the initial studies were preschool children who watched an adult hit and
kick Bobo.
When the children were left alone with the doll, they modeled their behavior after the
example they had just witnessed.
Their behavior was compared with that of a control group of children who had not seen
the model attack the Bobo doll.
The experimental group was found to be twice as aggressive as the control group.
The intensity of the aggressive behavior remained the same in the experimental subjects
whether the model was seen live, on television, or as a cartoon character.
The effect of the model in all three media was to elicit aggressive behavior, actions that
were not displayed with the same strength by children who had not observed the
Bandura compared the behavior of parents of two groups of children (Bandura &
Walters, 1963). One group consisted of highly aggressive children, the other of more
inhibited children.
According to Banduras theory, the childrens behavior should reflect their parents
behavior. The research showed that the parents of the inhibited children were inhibited,
and the parents of the aggressive children were aggressive.

Verbal modeling can induce certain behaviors, as long as the activities involved are
fully and adequately explained.
Verbal modeling is often used to provide instructions, a technique applicable to
teaching such skills as driving a car.
Verbal instructions are usually supplemented by behavioral demonstrations, such as
when a driving instructor serves as a model performing the behaviors involved in driving.
Disinhibition - The weakening of inhibitions or constraints by observing the behavior of a
Research has shown that behaviors a person usually suppresses or inhibits maybe
performed more readily under the influence of a model (Bandura, 1973, 1986).
For example, people in a crowd may start a riot, breaking windows and shouting,
exhibiting physical and verbal behaviors they would never perform when alone. They
are more likely to discard their inhibitions against aggressive behavior if they see other
people doing so.
Bandura concluded that much behaviorgood and bad, normal and abnormalis
learned by imitating the behavior of other people.
Beginning with parents as models, we learn their language and become socialized by
the cultures customs and acceptable behaviors.
People who deviate from cultural norms have learned their behavior the same way as
everyone else. The difference is that deviant persons have followed models the rest of
society considers undesirable.
Bandura and his associates (Bandura, 1977, 1986) investigated three factors found to
influence modeling: the characteristics of the models, the characteristics of the
observers, and the reward consequences associated with the behaviors.
The characteristics of the models affect our tendency to imitate them. In real life, we
may be more influenced by someone who appears to be similar to us than by someone
who differs from us in obvious and significant ways.
Other characteristics of the model that affect imitation are age and sex. We are more
likely to model our behavior after a person of the same sex than a person of the
opposite sex. Also, we are more likely to be influenced by models our own age.
Peers who appear to have successfully solved the problems we are facing are highly
influential models.
Status and prestige are also important factors.
The type of behavior the model performs affects the extent of imitation. Highly complex
behaviors are not imitated as quickly and readily as simpler behaviors.
Hostile and aggressive behaviors tend to be strongly imitated, especially by children.
The attributes of the observers also determine the effectiveness of observational
People who are low in self-confidence and self-esteem are much more likely to imitate
a models behavior than are people high in self-confidence and self-esteem.
A person who has been reinforced for imitating a behaviorfor example, a child
rewarded for behaving like an older siblingis more susceptible to the influence of
The reward consequences linked to a particular behavior can affect the extent of the
modeling and even override the impact of the models and observers characteristics.
A high-status model may lead us to imitate a certain behavior, but if the rewards are
not meaningful to us, we will discontinue the behavior and be less likely to be
influenced by that model in the future.
Seeing a model being rewarded or punished for displaying a particular behavior affects
Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive
Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-815614-X
Bandura, A. (2006). "Toward a Psychology of Human Agency". Perspectives on
Psychological Science. 1: 2. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00011.x.
Benight, C.C.; Bandura, A. (2004). "Social cognitive theory of posttraumatic
recovery:The role of perceived self-efficacy". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 42
(10): 11291148. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2003.08.008.
Caprara, G.; Fida, R.; Vecchione, M.; Del Bove, G.; Vecchio, G.; Barabaranelli, C.;
Bandura, A. (2008). "Longitudinal analysis of the role of perceived self-efficacy for
self-regulatory learning in academic continuance an achievement". Journal of
Educational Psychology. 100 (3): 525534. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.100.3.525.
Bandura, A. (2002). "Selective moral disengagement in the exercise of moral
agency". Journal of Moral Education. 31 (2): 101119.