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Psychology

Study Notes

Origins of Social Learning Theory

Level:
AS, A Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Before Social Learning Theory there were several researchers who identified small difficulties with behaviourism that allowed Bandura to build his theory.

Alone, none of them provided enough evidence to reduce Behaviourism’s influence, but combined with Bandura’s interest in social modelling, mental representation and reciprocal determinism they provided the basis for a change in learning theory.

Kohler (1927) showed that apes could build new solutions to problems by “insight learning”, showing that even animals played a more active role in learning than Behaviourism allowed.

Tolman & Honzik (1930) demonstrated that rats could learn without reinforcement and held internal “cognitive maps” of mazes they had run. They did not use these maps until reinforcement motivated them to; showing that a distinction should be drawn between learning and performance.

Rotter (1954) demonstrated that personality could influence responses to conditioning, showing that cognitive factors could have an effect on learning.

Alone, none of them provided enough evidence to reduce Behaviourism’s influence, but combined with Bandura’s interest in social modelling, mental representation and reciprocal determinism they provided the basis for a change in learning theory.

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