Social learning theory claims that observation and imitation are the most influencing mechanisms of development, not reinforcement. Albert Bandura supports this claim with his research on preschool children and his findings that kids often learned behaviors through their observation of others, especially when there was some sort of vicarious reinforcement. Bandura's Bobo doll experiment was especially illuminating as it showed that aggression was an easily learned behavior. He found that although boys were initially more aggressive than girls, girls would greatly increase their level of imitation when offered some incentive (reward).

Bandura's research results can also be seen visually represented by clicking on the file below:

More recently, Bandura began to place more of a stress on the cognitive components of observational learning and emphasize the concept of reciprocal determinism and perceived self-efficacy. (Click on the file below to see the reciprocal determinism concept illustrated)

The main criticism against Bandura's theory is his limited focus on the influence of biological factors on behavior development.

*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*

For more information on Bandura and his theories consider the following site: