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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - ZIMBARDO: lesson 1 - DOC Powered By Docstoc

              DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY – Bandura et al.: Background
        Some developmental psychologists are particularly interested in how human beings
        (and other animals) learn things. Obviously, we learn from experience and one of the
        first psychologists to study this was John B Watson, over a hundred years ago.
        Watson founded a branch of psychology called Behaviourism. As the name suggests,
        Behaviourist psychologists look at behaviour and tend to ignore cognitions and other
        “invisible” processes. They try to explain behaviour in terms of the environment we
        are in and the stimuli we receive.
        Pavlov’s Dog                                                  Since I started rubbing my puppy’s
                                                                       nose in the mess he makes, he now
        Another early Behaviourist was                                 only poos and pees outside. How can
        Ivan Pavlov who experimented                                   you explain this with classical
        on dogs. Pavlov was a biologist                                conditioning?
        who wanted to study saliva but
                                                                  What behaviours have you learned
        needed a way to make his dogs                                 from association?
        slobber on demand. Because
        the dogs tended to drool when                             What behaviours do children learn
        food was brought to them,                                     without associations?
        Pavlov rang a bell just before                            How could classical conditioning be
        every feeding time. Eventually,                               used to cure drug addicts? Would it
        the dogs learned to associate                                 work?
        the sound of the bell with the
        appearance of food and they would start to salivate uncontrollably whenever they
        heard the bell, whether food turned up or not.
        This type of learning is called Classical Conditioning and it’s the basis for most
        animal training. It uses powerful associations to drum in knee-jerk responses.
        Skinner’s Box
        Behaviourism really took off in America in the ‘50s and the way was led by B F
        Skinner, America’s #1 Psychologist. Skinner did careful experiments using rewards
        and punishments. His “Skinner Box” held a rat and a small switch. The rat would
        eventually flick the switch by accident while exploring and this made food appear
        from a dispenser. Eventually the rat learned to press the lever to get the food. In a
        different version, the floor of the box was electrified and flicking the switch would
        turn off the power for a minute and the rat soon learned to do this too.
                                                                  This type of learning is
   How do we use operant
                                                                  called Operant
    conditioning when we train
                                                                  Conditioning and it’s the
                                                                  basis for a lot of human
   How do teachers use operant                                   learning too. Offering a
    conditioning on pupils?                                       reward to shape behaviour is
   What behaviours do children learn                             called positive
    without reinforcement?                                        reinforcement. Taking away
                                                                  something nasty when you
   What effects do rewards have on
    your behaviour? How about                                     get the behaviour you’re
    punishments?                                                  looking for is called
                                                                  negative reinforcement.

Social Learning Theory                                     Blue tits have learned to pick the foil
A lot of Behaviourism is pretty inhuman and                 tops off milk bottles on doorsteps to
treats people as no better than performing dogs or          get milk. Using conditioning and
lab rats. Neal Miller & John Dollard published              social learning theory, explain how
                                                            they have learned this behaviour.
Social Learning & Imitation in 1941 and focused
instead on how we learn by watching other people           What behaviours have you learned
and copying them. They pointed out that you                 from watching others?
don’t just learn because you’ve been rewarded;             Celebrities are often expected to be
you can learn when you see someone else being               “good role models” but they don’t
rewarded. This adds an important cognitive                  always live up to this. Can you think
component to Behaviourism – human beings look               of any examples? Are people really
at their environment and they draw conclusions              influenced by role models?
about the things they see. This is known as
Vicarious Learning.
             Social Learning Theory (SLT) is particularly associated with Albert
             Bandura at Stanford University. Although his
             name is linked with his Bobo Doll studies in the                                   My
             early ‘60s, Bandura is still doing research. He                                    favourite
             prefers SLT to be known as Social Cognitive                                        T-shirt
             Theory these days, but the new name hasn’t really                                  slogan
             caught on.
Learning to be Aggressive
Psychologists are very interested in aggression. Some psychologists think aggression
is an instinct. This is taking the nature side of the nature/nurture debate. If aggression
is instinctive then behaving aggressively might actually be good for us. Sigmund
Freud argued that releasing pent-up aggression is cathartic – it brings a sense of
relief, peace and calm. The trick is to find some socially acceptable way of venting
Other psychologists are more interested in the nurture side of the debate and focus on
how aggression is learned. This is where Albert Bandura comes in. Aggression is
often something we associate with excitement and being the centre of attention. Also,
aggression often gets rewarded, or at least makes something unpleasant stop. Finally,
we view a lot of aggression through TV. A study in 2001 found that on TV there are
5.2 acts of violence per hour and this was a big increase because back in 1997 there
were only 4.1 violent acts per hour.
Student Activities
1. What controls were used in Bandura’s study? [2 marks]
2. What is “inter-rater reliability” and why is it important when assessing
   aggressiveness?? [2 marks]
3. What aspects of Bandura’s experiment might be harmful for a child? [2 marks]
4. This experiment was conducted nearly 50 years ago.Would children behave the
   same way today? Why or why not? [2 marks]
5. What differences were there between boys’ and girls’ aggressive behaviour? What
   explanation did Bandura give for these differences? [2 marks]

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