Albert Bandura

(1925 - )

"Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure"


  • Albert Bandura was born in Mundare, Alberta in 1925.
  • He was the youngest son in a family of six and he was the only boy.
  • He moved to the US in 1949 and was naturalized in 1956.
  • Graduated with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in three years (1949), winning the Bolocan Award in psychology.
  • He later moved onto the University of Iowa for his M.A. (1951) and then his Ph.D. (1952).
  • A year after graduation (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).

Contributions to Psychology

Although he has made many contributions that influenced the field of psychology, Bandura is perhaps most well known for his social learning theory.

Social Learning Theory (1977):

What is it? States behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning.

What does that mean? This means people think about their behavior and its consequences.

How it works:
  1. People can learn through observation.
  2. Internal mental conditions are an important step of this process of observation.
  3. Recognizes that just because something has been learned, it does not mean that it will result in a change in behavior.

Why this is important: This theory has branched out of psychology to many fields, most obvious being education. It helped show teachers and parents the importance of displaying appropriate behavior to children.


Bandura received much criticism for his famous Bobo Doll Experiment.

The Bobo Doll Experiment:

Tested 36 boys and 36 girls from ages 3 to 6 years old for aggression.

Hypothesis: similar behaviors were learned by individuals shaping their own behavior after the actions of models.

Translation: If children saw adults beating a doll and being praised for it, would they beat the doll as well? Similarly, if the children saw adults being punished for beating the doll, would it stop them from beating it?

Results: Answered both questions as yes, showing behavior can be learned.

Criticism: Many were offended by Bandura's experiment saying his experiment was unethical. By manipulating the children to be aggressive, these critics argue that Bandura was teaching them to be aggressive.
Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiment


Cherry, K. (2014). Albert bandura biography (1925 - ). Retrieved from

Psychology, E. (2012, August 28). Bandura's bobo doll experiment. Retrieved from

Albert Bandura. (2014). Retrieved October 1, 2014 from the Wiki: