Life (Psychology and Mental Health)
Albert Bandura attended rural elementary and high schools staffed by resourceful and encouraging teachers, and he attended college at the University of British Columbia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1949. Intrigued by the work of Kenneth Spence, he went to the University of Iowa to pursue his graduate degrees in psychology, studying under Arthur Benton. He received an M.A. in 1951 and a year later earned a Ph.D., focusing his attention on learning theory. Following graduation, he took a postdoctoral position in Kansas at the Wichita Guidance Center.
In 1953, Bandura began teaching at Stanford University in Northern California, becoming a full professor in 1964 and serving as chair of the psychology department in 1976 and 1977. He was named David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Sciences in Psychology. Throughout his teaching career, he wrote many books; his most notable contributions are Aggression: Social Learning Analysis (1973), Social Learning Theory (1977), Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory (1985), and Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control (1997). He was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, president of the American Psychological Association and Western Psychological Association, and honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association.
Bandura’s work on social cognitive theory is at the core of his...
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
Evans, Richard I. Albert Bandura, the Man and His Ideas—A Dialogue. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1989. Part of a series of interviews with influential psychologists designed to put a personal face on their work.
Maddux, James E. Self-Efficacy, Adaptation, and Adjustment: Theory, Research, and Application. New York: Plenum, 1995. Provides an overview of how self-efficacy theory relates to a variety of important everyday behaviors.
Miller, Neal E., and John Dollard. Social Learning and Imitation. 1941. Reprint. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. A classic on social learning theory, foundational to the work done by Bandura that challenged and extended this theory substantially.
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Albert Bandura (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
American psychologist whose work is concentrated in the area of social learning theory.
Albert Bandura was born in the province of Alberta, Canada, and received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, focusing on social learning theories in his studies with Kenneth Spence and Robert Sears. Graduating in 1952, Bandura completed a one-year internship at the Wichita Guidance Center before accepting an appointment to the department of psychology at Stanford University, where he has remained throughout his career. In opposition to more radical behaviorists, Bandura considers cognitive factors as causal agents in human behavior. His area of research, social cognitive theory, is concerned with the interaction between cognition, behavior, and the environment.
Much of Bandura's work has focused on the acquisition and modification of personality traits in children, particularly as they are affected by observational learning, or modeling, which, he argues, plays a highly significant role in the determination of subsequent behavior. While it is common knowledge that children learn by imitating others, little formal research was done on this subject before Neal Miller and John Dollard published...
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Bandura, Albert (Psychologists and Their Theories)
CANADIAN-BORN AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, RESEARCHER
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, PhD, 1952
When people first try a new sport, they often know what they need to do before ever stepping onto a playing field or court because they've watched other people play. Albert Bandura recognized the importance of this process, called observational learning or vicarious learning, in which people learn to do something without actually performing the behavior themselves or being directly rewarded or punished for it. The advantage of this kind of learning is that it lets people learn from the experience of others, without having to reinvent the wheel every time they do something new.
In a series of classic studies, Bandura and his colleagues looked at the way observational learning affects aggressive behavior in children. Some children were shown a film in which an adult punched, hammered, and kicked a plastic inflatable doll, called a Bobo doll. Those who viewed the film were later more likely to act aggressively themselves when given a chance to play with the doll. Furthermore, seeing the adult in the film be rewarded for aggression increased the likelihood of aggression in the children even more, while seeing the adult punished had the opposite effect. However, just watching the aggressive behavior was enough for the children to...
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