Essay about The First Theory Is The Social Learning Theory

1149 Words Sep 20th, 2015 5 Pages
The first theory is the social learning theory (SLT). It begins on the premise that we learn aggressive behaviour by observing others. Although we learn this behaviour we may not chose to show it, we are more likely to imitate the behaviour if they are a role model. Also, if the observed aggression is shown to have positive consequences, then we are more likely to observe it, this is commonly referred to as vicarious reinforcement. In order for social learning to take place the individual must form a mental representation of the behaviour and the expectancy of future outcomes of the behaviour. So cognition plays a role in the mental representations formed and whether the individual chooses to repeat the behaviour.

SLT links to the nature/nurture debate since it bodes that aggression is learnt from role models rather than being linked to biological reasons. So this means the theory has practical applications because if a child’s nurture is manipulated (i.e. children’s TV, video games) then their aggression levels will fluctuate. So whilst it’s difficult to change some types of aggression that children may witness, it may be possible to change others through the type of reinforcement that a child receives. So children’s TV should limit not only the way aggression is being shown, but the way the aggression is being reinforced ergo limit the amount of positive reinforcement the programme shows behind aggressive behaviour.

There is also supporting evidence for this theory. The…

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