Social cognitive theory

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Social cognitive theory is a learning theory based on the idea that people learn by observing others. These learned behaviors can be central to one's personality. While social cognitive theory can be related to educational psychology, it can also apply to many other disciplines including communication, health psychology, and media studies.

History[edit | edit source]

Social cognitive theory was developed by Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist. Bandura's theory evolved from the behaviorist learning theories of Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner. However, Bandura's approach is distinct in that it emphasizes the role of cognitive processes in learning and behavior.

Key Concepts[edit | edit source]

Social cognitive theory is based on several key concepts. These include:

  • Observational Learning: This is the process of learning by watching others. Bandura believed that this was a critical aspect of learning that could not be explained by simple reinforcement and punishment.
  • Self-Efficacy: This is the belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. Bandura argued that self-efficacy is a critical factor in whether or not people can learn from observational learning.
  • Reciprocal Determinism: This is the idea that a person's behavior both influences and is influenced by personal factors and the social environment.

Applications[edit | edit source]

Social cognitive theory has been applied in many different areas. For example, it has been used to understand and predict behavior in areas such as health promotion, organizational behavior, and media literacy.

Criticisms[edit | edit source]

While social cognitive theory has been widely accepted, it has also faced criticism. Some critics argue that it places too much emphasis on the role of cognition in behavior, while others argue that it does not take into account biological factors.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD