Albert Bandura

The Social Learning Theory

About Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura was born on December 4,1925 in the province of Alberta, Canada. He went to a high school with only 20 students and 2 teachers. He was raised in a small farming community in Canada. Bandura received his B.A degree from the University of the British Columbia in 1949. In 1952, He obtained his ph.D from the University of Iowa. While he was in the University of Iowa he developed the social learning theory. Bandura believed that psychological research should be conducted in a laboratory to control factors that determined behavior. In 1953 Albert Bandura accepted a position as a psychology professor at the university of Stanford and he is currently employed there today.

Aggression Reinforced by Family Members.

Albert Bandura believed aggression reinforced by family members was the most prominent source of behavior modeling. He reports that children use the same aggressive tactics that their parents illustrate when dealing with others. While studying at Iowa, Bandura became interested in aggression in children. In order to control aggression, Bandura stated that the problem should be diagnosed and treated during one’s childhood. He says they should test treatments before they embark on widespread applications. Children learn to act aggressive when they model their behavior after violent acts of adults, especially family members.


Albert is famous for his "Social Learning Theory" which he has recently renamed "Social Cognitive Theory". His theory has 4 steps: 1) Attention-In order for an individual to learn anything, he or she must pay attention to the features of the modeled behavior. Many factors contribute to the amount of attention one pays to the modeled activities, such as the characteristics of both the observer and the person being observed and competing stimuli.
2) Retention- If an individual is to be influenced by observing behaviors he or she needs to remember the activities that were modeled at one time or another. Imagery and language aid in this process of retaining information. Humans store the behaviors they observe in the form of mental images or verbal descriptions, and are then able to recall the image or description later to reproduce the activity with their own behavior.
3) Reproduction- Reproduction involves converting symbolic representations into appropriate actions. Behavioral reproduction is accomplished by organizing one's own responses in accordance with the modeled pattern. A person's ability to reproduce a behavior improves with practice.
4) Motivation- To imitate a behavior, the person must have some motivating factor behind it, such as incentives that a person envisions. These imagined incentives act as reinforcers. Negative reinforcers discourage the continuation of the modeled activity.