Prosocial and Antisocial Modelling and its effect on Learning. Observational Learning Many of us in our childhood have people that we have looked up to while growing up, such as a parent, relative, or close friend. Many of the way we learn about the world come from watching and emulating other people, especially those we look up to, or observational learning. The people performing the copied behaviors are called models.
If you want to see modeling in action, look no further than a small child pretending to be a crusader they saw in a cartoon or on television. Steps in the Modeling Process Attaining knowledge through observation takes more than pure imitation. In fact, professor and psychologist, Albert Bandura, described the specific steps associated with this process, including attention, retention, and motivation. First, we must focus our attention on what we are observing and not become distracted by other things. If we do not focus on the behavior, then there is no chance of emulating it. Next, we must have a way to retain what we witnessed and store it in our memory. We must be able to reproduce the behavior to do it ourselves later.
Finally, we must also be motivated, or desire to learn, in order to start learning in the first place. Bandura demonstrated how a person progresses through the stages of modeling by observing children imitating an adult’s aggressive and violent behavior. In one part of what would become known as the ‘Bobo the Doll experiment’, Bandura observed how children three to six years of age would act towards a five-foot inflatable doll if an adult first treated the doll in an aggressive manner. They also observed that the adult was not punished for treating the doll this way. According to the results, the children imitated the aggressive behavior of the adult towards the doll, which did not come as much of a surprise.
Effects of Positive Modeling As a result of his studies, Bandura concluded that modeling can have both prosocial or positive, helpful effects on relationships, as well as antisocial or negative effects on relationships and behavior. In other words, children are more likely to imitate positive behavior if they’re exposed to appropriately behaved models. Growing up, a child’s parents or primary caretakers are likely to act as their biggest sources of information when learning about the world. Early on, children are more likely to imitate behavior they learn at home versus anywhere else. For example, if we want children to be healthy, we should let them see us exercising and eating nutritious foods. If we want them to act with good manners in social situations, we must also show them what that looks like by being polite and kind with others. Effects of Negative Modeling Just as children are likely to reproduce good behavior by observing positive role models, they are also just as likely to reproduce observable bad behaviors.
In fact, data suggests that some children who are abused growing up are more likely to become abusers themselves, which leads to a vicious cycle of violence. Adults influence the lives of adolescents in a variety of ways. Bandura (1971) suggests that people tend to display behaviors that are learned either intentionally or inadvertently, through the influence of example. Since identity formation is a central focus during adolescence, adolescents are particularly likely to be influenced by the adults in their environment (Erikson, 1968). Adolescents often look to adults in order to determine appropriate and acceptable behavior, as well as to identify models of who they want to be like.
Adult influences, however, can be both positive and negative, and some adults may be more influential than others. In this study, we focused on the negative influences that nonparental adults can have on adolescents and explored the relationship between exposure to negative nonparental adult behavior and negative youth outcomes. We also used a resilience framework to investigate if role models protected youth against the negative effects of exposure to negative nonparental adult behavior. Additionally, we explored the significance of having a role model who was the same gender as the adolescent and the significance of having parents as role models. Hurd et al study titled “Negative adult influences and the protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents.
In their findings the researchers found that efforts to develop or improve adolescent-adult relationships may be beneficial. Considering that most adolescents in their study identified at least one person who they look up to and that these role models were mostly adult relatives, it is vital that parents and family members model prosocial behavior for their adolescent children. Works Cited: 1. Bandura A. Social learning theory. General Learning Press; New York: 1971. 2. 2.Erikson EH. Identity: Youth & Crisis. Norton; New York: 1968. 3. 3.Hurd, N. M., Hurd. Zimmerman, M.A. and Xue. Negative adult influences and the protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents; New York: 2008.