Social Learning Theory by: Jessica Mammen


Social Learning Theory proposed by Albert Bandura

The social learning theory emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes and emotional reactions of others. Individuals are more likely to adopt a modeled behavior if it results in outcomes they value. The social learning theory is used to emphasize the societal context of socialization rather than the individual mind. It is the result of modeling oneself in response to the expectations of others.

• Advertisements and TV commercials are the most common examples of the Social Learning Theory. We watch them and then copy them. Commercials suggest that drinking a certain beverage or using a particular deodorant will make us popular and win the admiration of attractive people.
• One of Bandura’s most famous experiments is using the bobo doll. Children observed as adults modeled either violent or passive behavior towards the doll, and this observation was found to influence the way in which the children then interacted with the doll.

There are three main concepts to social learning:
1) People can learn through observations.
2) The idea that internal mental states are an essential part of this process.
3) The theory recognizes that just because something has been learned, it does not mean that it will result in a change in behavior.


Bandura, A. Ross, D., & Ross, S.A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through the imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kearsley, G. (n.d.) Social Learning Theory (A. Bandura). Retrieved July 14, 2014 from

Rapaport, David. “Review of Learning Theory and Personality Dynamics.” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 47.1 (1952): 137-42.Web

Zimmerman, B.J. & Bandura, A. (1994). Impact of self-regulatory influences on writing course attainment. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 845-862.

Created by: Jessica Mammen