Social learning theory states that individuals become aggressive by imitating role models. SLT states that observational learning takes place, and that this learning is reinforced vicariously. Vicarious reinforcement occurs when a person witnesses a model being rewarded for behaving in an aggressive way. Vicarious reinforcement makes it more likely that the model’s behaviour will be imitated in the future. According to Bandura, four mediational processes must occur for imitation of behaviour to take place: attention (an individual must pay attention to the model’s aggressive behaviour); retention (individuals must code and store the observed aggressive behaviour in long-term memory); reproduction (individuals must be capable of imitating the aggressive behaviour); and motivation (individuals must have good reason for reproducing the aggressive behaviour).

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