5 - Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory

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social cognitive theory

takes chance encounters and fortuitous events seriously, even while recognizing that these meetings and events do not invariably alter one’s life path

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Bandura’s 5 assumptions

  1. plasticity

  2. triadic reciprocal causation model allows for cognitive meditation

  3. agentic perspective, humans have capacity to exercise control over lives

  4. regulate our behaviour via external, environmental, and internal forces

  5. moral agency, we are moral creatures

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we are constantly ______

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most learning is ______, done by watching others

  • more efficient

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observational learning

allows people to learn without performing any behaviour

  • without direct reinforcement

  • efficient

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observation of others and thus learning from their actions

  • more than imitation

  • addition and subtraction of specific acts

  • observation of consequences of others’ behaviour

  • take in observation of others, cognitively represent it, and then do it ourselves

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factors of learning from a model

  • characteristics of model themselves

    • experienced, competent

  • characteristics of self

    • lacking skill

  • consequences of modelled behaviour

  • value we place on it

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processes governing observational learning

  1. attention

  2. cognitive representation

  3. behavioural production

  4. motivation

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(process governing observational learning)

  • attend to the person we want to learn from

    • people we know, attractive people, value what they are doing

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cognitive representation

(process governing observational learning)

  • symbolically represent activity and store in memory

    • proto linguistically or symbolically

    • practice helps, but is not necessary

    • verbal coding speeds up learning process

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behavioural production

(process governing observational learning)

  • produce what we have observed

  • use cognitive representations to guide behaviour

    • “how do we do this”, “what are we doing”, “am I doing it right”

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(process governing observational learning)

  • _____ to perform modelled behaviours

    • we could learn lots observationally, but will remain cognitive representation unless motivated

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enactive learning

performed behaviours, learning by doing

  • thinking about and evaluating consequences

  • often self-regulated rewards, not always physical

    1. we know what our behaviour does

    2. foresight, modelling future outcomes

    3. consequences reinforce our beahviour

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cognitively involved

learning more effective when we are ------ ------ in the situation and understand what behaviours precede successful responses

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triadic reciprocal causation

system assumes that human action is a result of an interaction among three variables - environment, behaviour, and person (cognitive factors)

  • reciprocal as forces are constantly interacting in circular capacity

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chance encounter

an unintended meeting of persons unfamiliar to eachother

  • we can set ourselves up for random encounters

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fortuitous event

environmental events that are unexpected and unintended

  • make accurate predictions nearly impossible

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prepared mind

chance favours only the ------ ----

  • able to escape unpleasant encounters by anticipating their possibility and taking precautions

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human agency

ability of people to use cognitive abilities to control their lives

  • capacities for regulating self, acting proactively, organizing who we are

  • essence of humanness

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core features of human agency

  1. intentionality

  2. forethought

  3. self-reactiveness

  4. self-reflectiveness

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(core feature of human agency)

our actions are typically intentional

  • constantly modifying intentions as we see consequences of earlier behaviour

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(core feature of human agency)

set goals for self, plan ahead

  • anticipate outcomes

  • enables someone to break free from environmental constraints

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(core feature of human agency)

monitoring and reacting to selves

  • setting self up to succeed

  • revising goals so they are specific

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(core feature of human agency)

always reflecting on selves, what we are doing, why we are doing it

  • evaluating how we are affected by others

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people’s beliefs in their capability to exercise some measure of control over their own functioning and over environmental events

  • foundation of human agency

  • not a global or generalized concept, unique to each situation

  • combines with environmental responsiveness to enable predictions

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efficacy expectations

beliefs on ability to do something a certain way

  • confidence

  • not the same as aspiration

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outcome expectations

how we predict our actions will lead to consequences

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factors of self-efficacy

  1. mastery experience

  2. social modeling

  3. social persuasion

    1. physical and emotional states

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mastery experiences

(factor of self-efficacy)

successful performance raises efficacy expectancies, failure tends to lower them

  1. increased SE with successful performance proportionate to task

  2. increased SE more for individual achievements than collective

  3. decreased SE with failure when we put best effort

  4. little impact SE with failure under high emotional arousal or distress

  5. decreased SE with failure prior to establishing mastery

  6. little impact SE when we fail occasionally

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social modelling

(factor of self-efficacy)

  • SE raised when we observe accomplishments of another person of equal competence, lowered when they fail

    • more powerful when we see them fail

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social persuasion

(factor of self-efficacy)

persuasion from others can raise or lower SE

  • to believe the persuader:

    • must be credible

    • we must be able to perform the behaviour

  • most effective when developed into a feedback, paired with successful performance

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physical and emotional states

(factor of self-efficacy)

when people experience intense fear, acute anxiety, or high levels of stress, they are likely to have lower efficacy expectancies

  • the higher the arousal, the lower the SE

  • SE higher for realistic fears

  • emotional arousal can lead to success of simple tasks, but likely interferes with performance of complex activities

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indirect control over those social conditions that affect everyday living

  • can accomplish goals through relying on other people to repair objects

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collective efficacy

confidence people have that their combined efforts will produce social change

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techniques for measuring collective efficacy

  1. combine individual members’ evaluations of personal capabilities

  2. measure confidence each person has in group’s ability

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factors that undermine collective efficacy

  1. transnational world, our actions impact the entire world → send of hopelessness

  2. recent technology that we don’t understand

  3. layers of bureaucracy prevent social change

  4. scope and magnitude of human problems

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people reactively attempt to reduce discrepancies between accomplishments and goals then proactively set newer and higher goals for themselves

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reactive self-regulation

try to reduce discrepancies between accomplishing a goal

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proactive self-regulation

after reaching goals, set new goals

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external factors in self-regulation

  1. standards for behaviour evaluation, looking for examples

  2. provide means of reinforcement

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internal factors in self-regulation

  1. self-observation, monitoring behaviours

  2. judgemental process

  3. self-reaction, responding to own behaviours

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judgemental process

(internal factors in self-regulation)

cognitive mediation, judging the worth of our actions based on the goals we set for ourselves

  1. personal standards

  2. referential performances

  3. valuation of activity

  4. performance attribution

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selective activation

self-regulatory influences are not automatic but rather operate only if they are activated

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disengagement of internal control

displacement or diffusion of responsibility for the injurious effects of one’s actions

  • justifying the morality of their actions allows them to disengage from the consequences

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key aspects of moral standards

  1. do best not to hurt others

  2. help others when we can

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mechanisms of disengaging self control

  1. redefine the behaviour

  2. disregard or distort the consequences of behaviour

  3. dehumanize or blame the victims

  4. displace or diffuse responsibility

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redefine the behaviour

(mechanism of disengaging self-control)

people justify otherwise reprehensible actions by a cognitive restructuring that allows them to minimize or escape responsibility

  1. moral justification

  2. palliative comparisons, other people have done worse

  3. euphemistic labels, use abstract terminology

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disregard or distort the consequences of behaviour

(mechanism of disengaging self-control)

obscuring the relationship between the behaviour and its detrimental consequences

  1. obscure relationship between what we do and consequences of it

  2. minimize consequences

  3. ignore consequences we don’t experience first hand

  4. distort or misconstrue consequences of our actions

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dehumanize or blame the victims

(mechanism of disengaging self-control)

obscure responsibility for their actions by dehumanizing victims or attributing blame

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displace or diffuse responsibility

(mechanism of disengaging self-control)

dissociate actions from consequences by displacing or diffusing responsibility

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placing responsibility on outside source

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spreading responsibility so thin that no one person is responsible

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dysfunctional depression

as a result of failure, people undervalue their accomplishments

  • chronic misery, worthlessness, lack of purposefulness, pervasive depression

  • self observation: misjudge own performances, exaggerating mistakes

  • judgemental process: unrealistic standards for self

  • self-reaction: treat self harshly

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dysfunctional phobia

fear learned by direct contact, inappropriate generalization, and observational experience

  • difficult to extinguish

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dysfunctional aggression

acquired through observation of others, direct experiences with positive and negative reinforcements, training, instruction, and bizarre beliefs

  • Bobo doll

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reasons for aggression

  1. like inflicting injuries

  2. avoid aversive consequences of other peoples aggression

  3. receive harm or injury for not being aggressive

  4. have internal personal standard to live up to by being aggressive

  5. observe others being reported for aggression

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social cognitive therapy

ultimate goal is regulation

  • difficult because it involves eliminating behaviours that are satisfying to the person

    1. vicarious model

    2. covert/cognitive modelling

    3. enactive master

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vicarious model

(type of social cognitive therapy)

observe someone doing something we find threatening and we are more likely to do it ourselves

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covert / cognitive modeling

(type of social cognitive therapy)

imagining self performing the behaviour

  • systematic desensitization

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enactive mastery

process that involves performing behaviour in hierarchical way while remaining relaxed

  • systematic desensitization

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self-efficacy and terrorism

  • more intrinsically religious people higher SE

    • when saliency of terrorism is high, intrinsically religious people in a better mood due to SE

    • when salience low, no difference

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self-efficacy and diabetes

  • higher levels SE associated with lower depression, lower BMI, higher listening to doctor, decreased diabetic symptoms

  • higher BMI led to lower SE and increased depression

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critique of social cognitive theory

  • conceptual and logical issues

    • things in psych are not required to be empirically tested

  • what do we really know about someone from their SE

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