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Observational learning

Observational learning or social learning refers to learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating behavior observed in others.

It is most associated with the work of Albert Bandura. Social learning theory has played an important part in the debate concerning the effect of television on violent behaviour. Bandura's Bobo doll experiment is widely cited in psychology and demonstrated that children are more likely to engage in violent play with a life size rebounding doll after watching an adult do the same.

Table of contents
1 Required conditions
2 Effect on behaviour
3 Social learning in children
4 See also
5 References and external links

Required conditions

Bandura called the process of social learning modelling and gave four conditions required for a person to successfully model the behaviour of someone else:

Attention to the model

A person must first pay attention to a person engaging in a certain behaviour (the model).

Retention of details

Once attending to the observed behaviour, the observer must be able to effectively remember what the model has done.

Motor reproduction

The observer must be able to replicate the behaviour being observed. For example, juggling cannot be effectively learned by observing a model juggler if the observer does not already have the ability to perform the component actions (throwing and catching a ball).

Motivation and Opportunity

The observer must be motivated to carry out the action they have observed and remembered, and must have the opportunity to do so. For example, a suitably skilled person must want to replicate the behaviour of a model juggler, and needs to have an appropriate number of items to juggle to hand.

Effect on behaviour

Social learning may effect behaviour in the follow ways:

Social learning in children

This method of learning is primarily prevalent in the younger years of development, when authority becomes important in a child's life.

See also

References and external links