Writing Assignment #1 Bandura, Ross, & Ross (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models In 1961, Bandura, D. Ross, and S. Ross conducted an experiment on 72 pre-school children to examine and explore the “Social Learning” theory. The Social Learning theory suggests that human behavior is observationally learned through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed. They predicted that subjects Method: Design: The participants were chosen by opportunity sampling from Stanford University Nursery’ School.
Participants consisted of 36 boys and 36 girls, and two adults, a male and a female, both being a role model.
The participants were divided into eight experimental groups of six subjects each and a control group consisting of 24 children. Half of the experimental participants viewed aggressive models, while the other half were shown nonaggressive models. These groups were then further divided into male and female subjects, and half of the children in the aggressive and non-aggressive groups observed same-sexed models, while the other half observed opposite sex models.
The control group was not exposed to any adult models
The subjects were assessed on four five-point rating scales by the experimenter and a school teacher. These assessments measured the extent to which the children demonstrated verbal aggression, physical aggression, aggression toward intimate objects, and aggressive inhibition. Procedure: Subjects were individually brought to the experimental room and were escorted to one corner of the room, which was their play area. After seating the child at a small table, the experimenter explained how subjects could construct and design pictures with potato prints and picture stickers.
The model on the other hand was brought to the opposite corner of the room which consisted of a small chair, table, mallet, tinker toy set, and a 5-foot inflated Bobo doll. The experimenter explained to the model that the materials provided was for him/her to play with. With participants in the aggressive condition, the model assembled the tinker toys and portrayed acts of aggression towards the Bobo doll; the model continuously punched the Bobo doll, used a mallet to hit the Bobo doll’s head, and tossed it up the air and kicked it.
Furthermore, the model interspersed with verbally aggressive comments such as, “Kick him…” and “Throw him in the air. ” Conversely, with subjects in the non-aggressive condition, the model assembled the tinker toys in a silent passive manner, and completely disregarding the Bobo doll. Moreover, the model made non-aggressive comments such as, “He sure is a tough fella,” and “He keeps coming back for more. ” After 10 minutes, the experimenter informed the subject that he would now be brought to another game room.
The subjects were then taken into another room filled with interesting toys, some of an aggressive type such as, a 3-foot Bobo doll, a mallet and a peg board, and some nonaggressive such as, a tea set, crayons, and coloring paper, a ball, and plastic farm animals. The subjects were observed through a one-way mirror, and behaviors such as, physical aggression, verbal aggression, and the number of times the mallet was used to strike the Bobo doll was assessed. Results: Confounds within study: There are minimal confounding variables within the experiment as Bandura, Ross, and Ross used a laboratory experiment method to conduct their esearch. The utilization of a laboratory experiment method allowed the experimenters to standardize conditions for all the subjects and acquire greater control of extraneous variables, which therefore led to a stronger internal validity. Internal validity is the degree to which an observed effect is due to the experimental manipulation rather than other factors such as extraneous variables. Some possible confounding variables were avoided and controlled. Firstly, the individual differences were controlled by ensuring subjects were rated for aggression prior to the study.
This eliminates a possible extraneous factor – individual differences in aggression. Secondly, the subjects within the control and experimental groups were matched for aggressiveness to ensure equal compositions of the groups. As a result, the data could not be affected by pre-existing levels of aggression; therefore, causal relationships can be made. Furthermore, all the subjects were slightly frustrated before illustrating aggressive behavior. The subjects were allowed to play with the attractive toys for a few minutes until they were told by the experimenter that the toys were for other the other children.
Hence, the increase in their emotional stimulation was approximately equal, before they were given an opportunity to be aggressive. Lastly, the experimenter rated the aggressive levels of the participants with a nursery school teacher that was well acquainted with children. This decreased the chances of subjectivity. Although most of the extraneous and confounding variables were taken into consideration, there are some confounding variables that may have skewed the results. Since there is high control in a laboratory experiment, there is the possibility of this leading to a contrived situation, and, a loss of real-life validity.
As a result, the issue of demand characteristic may have occurred. A demand characteristic is when participants are aware of the experimenter’s expectation and how they are predicted to behave. Hence, participants would alter their behavior to fit the experimenter’s expectation, which would result in unrepresentative and invalid findings. The children might have been aware of what was expected of them; one of the participants said “Look Mummy, there’s the doll we have to hit” Noble (1975). Importance of the study to the field: Albert Bandura’s success in his experiment has allowed him to prove and verify the Social Learning theory.
The Social Learning theory or observational learning is now widely accepted as a useful theory in the field of psychology; it can be used to shape desired and acceptable behaviors and eliminate unwanted attitudes. Some complex behaviors such as, language, would probably never be learnt and developed unless children were exposed to people who modeled them. Observational learning enables children to garner many responses and behaviors in a large variety of settings where the models are performing their daily activities and routines.
Some examples of observational learning would be observing parents read and write, parent’s attitude and response toward a certain scenario, moral behavior, and ethical decisions. Furthermore, Bandura has also developed a therapy called ‘’modeling therapy,” which is derived from observational learning. The modeling therapy highlights the importance of learning through observation of role models, and learning about rewards and punishment that follow behavior. The therapy has been proven and is used to eradicate unwanted behaviors, phobias, and anxiety disorders. Bandura’s Social learning Theory is also applied for educational purposes.
Educators have learned that observational learning is an effective teaching tool. Observational learning processes “greatly influence children’s coping with conflict, frustration, academic stressors, and failure” (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2003, p. 442). With knowledge of observational learning, they are able to be conscious and aware of their actions, being discreet and certain that they are portraying a morally correct behavior to their students. Traditional behaviorists believed that all organisms learned in the same way; all behavior is learned through the environment, and this was explained through operant and classical conditioning.
In short, the learning perspective was limited to these techniques. The discovery and verification of the Social Learning theory has contributed towards the overall shift of the learning perspective to incorporate cognitive and social processes; it demonstrates that learning was not simply based on a set of stimulus-response associations. Furthermore, the social learning theory reaches into the cognitive perspective’s realm, allowing development for more effective techniques. The theory can be seen as a bridge between the learning perspective and the cognitive perspective, as it incorporates attention and memory.