Social Learning Theory and Its Application to Aggression
Social learning theory proposes that social learning occurs when the individual views a modeled behavior that they value, observes an act if the model has a role model or admired status, and when a person imitates a learned behavior (Bandura, & Ribes-Inesta, 1976). The basic foundations of the theory are applied to education policies, understanding psychological disorders, training courses, behavioral modeling, in the media and has a plethora of further applications in today’s society. Another application of the theory is for criminals, violence and aggression. Whether referring to violence in the media, domestic violence, community violence, bullying and others, aggression and
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While the Bobo doll experiment showed learned aggression in an experiment situation, theorists believe that social learning occurs more often when the observed act is performed by a role model or someone of greater superiority. Bandura himself believed that the greatest form of modeling would be imitated after family members and one’s peers. This is certainly the case when it comes to domestic violence. Many studies have shown that domestic violence actually is often a result of the aggressor growing up with domestic violence. In one study, boys who grow up in homes where domestic violence occurred are hundred times more likely to become abusers than those in non-violent homes (Crisis Connection). In fact, this is the greatest risk factor for children becoming abusers in their adulthood (Mihalic, & Elliott, 1997). In other cases, the children themselves are the ones that are abused which is one reason why eighty percent of the men in prison grow up in homes with violence. Many of these children end up as teenagers turning to drugs and alcohol to get away from life and are likely to end up getting into bad marriages and pregnancies.
As another form of aggression, bullying is often learned through their aggressive peers. While these aggressive students may have learned bullying from a family member or from something in the media, often the friends learn to become bullies too. In one study observing at