In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Concept of Social Cognitive Theory 2. Identification, Self-Efficacy of Social Cognitive Theory 3. Central Idea 4. Applications.
Concept of Social Cognitive Theory:
Social cognitive theory, used in psychology, education, and communication, posits that portions of an individual’s knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. In other words, people do not learn new behaviors solely by trying them and either succeeding or failing, but rather, the survival of humanity is dependent upon the replication of the actions of others.
Depending on whether people are rewarded or punished for their behavior and the outcome of the behavior, that behavior may be modeled. Further, media provide models for a vast array of people in many different environmental settings.
Social cognitive theory is a learning theory based on the ideas that people learn by watching what others do and will not do, these processes are central to understanding personality. While social cognitists agree that there is a fair amount of influence on development generated by learned behavior displayed in the environment in which one grows up, they believe that the individual person (and therefore cognition) is just as important in determining moral development.
People learn by observing others, with the environment, behavior, and cognition all as the chief factors in influencing development. These three factors are not static or independent elements; rather, they influence each other in a process of triadic reciprocal determinism.
For example, each behavior witnessed can change a person’s way of thinking (cognition). Similarly, the environment one is raised in may influence later behaviors, just as a father’s mindset (also cognition) will determine the environment in which his children are raised.
It is important to note that learning can occur without a change in behavior. According to J.E. Ormrod’s general principles of social learning, while a visible change in behavior is the most common proof of learning, it is not absolutely necessary. Social learning theorists say that because people can learn through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their performance.
Observation of Models:
Social cognitive theory revolves around the process of knowledge acquisition or learning directly correlated to the observation of models. The models can be those of an interpersonal imitation or media sources. Effective modeling teaches general rules and strategies for dealing with different situations.
To illustrate that people learn from watching others, Albert Bandura and his colleagues constructed a series of experiments using a Bobo doll. In the first experiment, children were exposed to either an aggressive or non- aggressive model of either the same sex or opposite sex as the child.
There was also a control group. The aggressive models played with the Bobo doll in an aggressive manner, while the non-aggressive models played with other toys. They found that children who were exposed to the aggressive models performed more aggressive actions toward the Bobo doll afterward, and that boys were more likely to do so than girls.
Following that study, in order to test whether the same was true for models presented through media, Albert Bandura constructed an experiment entitled “Bobo Doll Behavior: A Study of Aggression.” In this experiment Bandura exposed a group of children to a video featuring violent and aggressive action. After the video he then placed the children in a room with a Bobo doll to see how they behaved with it.
Through this experiment, Bandura discovered that children who had watched the violent video subjected the dolls to more aggressive and violent behavior, while children not exposed to the video did not.
This experiment displays the social cognitive theory because it depicts how people reenact behaviors they see in the media. In this case, the children in this experiment reenacted the model of violence they directly learned from the video.
As a result of the observations the reinforcement explains that the observer does not expect actual rewards or punishments but anticipates similar outcomes to his/her imitated behaviors and allows for these effects to work. This portion of social cognitive theory relies heavily on outcome expectancies. These expectancies are heavily influenced by the environment that the observer grows up in;
for example, the expected consequences for a DUI (Driving in influence) in the United States of America are a fine, with possible jail time, whereas the same charge in another country might lead to the infliction of the death penalty.
In education, teachers play the role as model in a child’s learning acquisition. Teachers model both material objectives and underlying curriculum of virtuous living. Teachers should also be dedicated to the building of high self-efficacy levels in their students by recognizing their accomplishments.
Identification, Self-Efficacy of Social Cognitive Theory:
Albert Bandura also stressed that the easiest way to display moral development would be via the consideration of multiple factors, be they social, cognitive, or environmental. The relationship between the aforementioned three factors provides even more insight into the complex concept that is morality.
Further development in social cognitive theory posits that learning will most likely occur if there is a close identification between the observer and the model and if the observer also has a good deal of self-efficacy. Self- efficacy beliefs function as an important set of proximal determinants of human motivation, affect, and action which operate on action through motivational, cognitive, and affective intervening processes.
Identification allows the observer to feel a one-to-one connection with the individual being imitated and will be more likely to achieve those imitations if the observer feels that they have the ability to follow through with the imitated action.
Self-efficacy has also been used to predict behavior in various health related situations such as weight loss, quitting smoking, and recovery from heart attack. In relation to exercise science, self-efficacy has produced some of the most consistent results revealing an increase in participation in exercise as self-efficacy increases.
Vicarious Learning: Central Idea of Social Cognitive Theory:
Vicarious learning, or the process of learning from other people’s behavior, is a central idea of social cognitive theory and self-efficacy. This idea asserts, that individuals can witness observed behaviors of others and then reproduce the same actions. As a result of this, individuals refrain from making mistakes and can perform behaviors better if they see individuals complete them successfully.
Vicarious learning is a part of social modeling which is one of the four means to increase self-efficacy. Social modeling refers not just to observe behavior but also to receiving instruction and guidance of how to complete a behavior.
The other three methods include, mastery experience, improving physical and emotional states and verbal persuasion. Mastery experience is a process in which the therapist or interventionist facilitates the success of an individual by achieving simple incremental goals.
With the achievement of simple tasks, more complex objectives are introduced. The person essentially masters a behavior step by step. Improving physical and emotional states refers to ensuring a person is rested and relaxed prior to attempting a new behavior. The less relaxed, the less patient, the more likely the goal behavior will not be attained. Finally, verbal persuasion is providing encouragement for a person to complete a task or achieve a certain behavior.
Applications of Social Cognitive Theory:
Social cognitive theory is applied today in many different areas:
a. Mass media,
b. Public health
d. Marketing etc.
The use of celebrities to endorse and introduce any number of products to certain demographics: one way in which social cognitive theory encompasses all four of these domains, campaigns.
Aids which are issued in the favour of public like warning against drinking , smoking etc. are generally given by celebrities because of their charm in society, public enjoys following their footsteps.