Social-Cognitive Theory Essay

Bandura’s social cognitive theory puts more emphasis on social origins of behavior. His social cognitive approach focuses on cognitive factors that are central to human functioning. He defines human behavior as vibrant and reciprocal interaction of personal factors behavior and the environment.

The theory contends that behavior is largely regulated through cognitive processes. He adds that through the observations of models, an individual’s perceptions and action influence cognitive development. Bandura gives three types of models; live, symbolic and verbal instructions (Boeree, 2006).

The theory states that learning can occur in the absence of direct reinforcement; rather people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people and models. In learning, the learner must have a sense of self-efficacy which is termed as the learner’s belief that they can execute complex skills successfully.

This perception provides the learner with an ability of self- direction. The use of models influence learner’s self systems and as a result cognitive development becomes an independent process of observational learning.

Additionally, observational learning involved four main steps which include attention, retention, reproduction and motivation. The implication in psychotherapy is that if you get an individual with a psychological disorder to observe someone dealing with the same issues in a wide productive fashion, the first individual will learn by modeling the second person.

Bandura acknowledges that individual’s behavior is conditioned through the use of consequences. In psychotherapy, research is very vital and behaviorism is the most preferred approach (Bandura, 2001).

Another concept which is applied in psychotherapy is locus of control. For instance, when persons believe they can alter their situation, they are said to have an internal locus of control and when they believe they cannot alter their situations they are said to have an external locus of control.


Bandura, A. (2001). Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 2, p. 4-7.

Boeree, G. (2006). Albert Bandura 1925- Present. Retrieved August 10, 2010 from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/bandura. html.

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Bandura’s Social-Cognitive Theory The social-cognitive theory proposed by Albert Bandura (1925- ) has become the most influential theory of learning and development. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. This theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. The four-step pattern of observational learning consists of: (1) Attention, must be aware of the model; (2) Retention, ability of storing information which can be pulled up later and acted on; (3) Reproduction, must replicate the modeled behavior at some time; and (4) Motivation, must have some desire to…show more content…

Also, instruction should be designed to help students develop self-efficacy for learning. Most simply, the tasks should be less challenging so that students’ are able to perform and make progress. According to social-cognitive theory, all students should be supported in becoming self-regulated learners. Students should set task-specific goals which will help them invent strategies that help with achieving objectives. After implementing strategies, they monitor and adjust their progress, and finally, they use motivational strategies to keep them on task when they become frustrated or encounter difficulties. Self-regulated learners must be flexible and not do tasks all at once.
Clinical Aspects Dysfunctional behavior “fits the social-cognitive theory of Bandura because the reciprocal determinism of environment, cognition, and behavior create maladaptive behavior, just as they can produce psychologically well-adjusted behavior” (Bandura, 2011). Bandura’s social-cognitive theory was developed while studying methods to eliminate or eradicate phobias in patients. A phobia is an irrational fear to an object. The individual knows that this fear is irrational, but that does not decrease the negative affect associated with the phobic object or situation. Phobia’s can be chronic if never faced. The nature of the phobia causes the person to avoid any


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