Prosocialand Antisocial Modelling and its effect on Learning.ObservationalLearningMany ofus 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 theworld come from watching and emulating other people, especially those we lookup to, or observational learning. The people performing the copiedbehaviors are called models. If you want to see modeling in action, lookno further than a small child pretending to be a crusader they saw in a cartoonor on television. Stepsin the Modeling ProcessAttainingknowledge through observation takes more than pure imitation.
In fact,professor and psychologist, Albert Bandura, described the specific stepsassociated with this process, including attention, retention, andmotivation. First, wemust focus our attention on what we are observing and not becomedistracted by other things. If we do not focus on the behavior, then there isno chance of emulating it. Next, we must have a way to retain what wewitnessed and store it in our memory. We must be ableto reproduce the behavior to do it ourselves later. Finally, we mustalso be motivated, or desire to learn, in order to start learning in thefirst place. Bandurademonstrated how a person progresses through the stages of modeling byobserving children imitating an adult’s aggressive and violent behavior. In onepart of what would become known as the ‘Bobo the Doll experiment’, Bandura observedhow children three to six years of age would act towards a five-foot inflatabledoll if an adult first treated the doll in an aggressive manner.
They alsoobserved that the adult was not punished for treating the doll this way.According to the results, the children imitated the aggressive behavior of theadult towards the doll, which did not come as much of a surprise. Effectsof Positive ModelingAs aresult of his studies, Bandura concluded that modeling can haveboth prosocial or positive, helpful effects on relationships, as wellas antisocial or negative effects on relationships and behavior. Inother words, children are more likely to imitate positive behavior if they’reexposed to appropriately behaved models.
Growing up, a child’s parents orprimary caretakers are likely to act as their biggest sources of informationwhen learning about the world. Early on, children are more likely to imitatebehavior they learn at home versus anywhere else. Forexample, if we want children to be healthy, we should let them see usexercising and eating nutritious foods. If we want them to act with goodmanners in social situations, we must also show them what that looks like bybeing polite and kind with others. Effectsof Negative ModelingJust aschildren are likely to reproduce good behavior by observing positive rolemodels, they are also just as likely to reproduce observable bad behaviors.
Infact, data suggests that some children who are abused growing up are morelikely to become abusers themselves, which leads to a vicious cycle ofviolence. Adults influence the lives of adolescents in a variety ofways. Bandura (1971) suggests that people tend to display behaviors that arelearned either intentionally or inadvertently, through the influence of example.Since identity formation is a central focus during adolescence, adolescents areparticularly likely to be influenced by the adults in their environment (Erikson,1968). Adolescents often look to adults in order to determineappropriate and acceptable behavior, as well as to identify models of who theywant 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 focusedon the negative influences that nonparental adults can have on adolescents andexplored the relationship between exposure to negative nonparental adultbehavior and negative youth outcomes.
We also used a resilience framework toinvestigate if role models protected youth against the negative effects ofexposure to negative nonparental adult behavior. Additionally, we explored thesignificance of having a role model who was the same gender as the adolescentand the significance of having parents as role models.Hurd et al study titled “Negative adult influences and the protectiveeffects of role models: A study with urban adolescents.In their findings the researchers found that efforts todevelop or improve adolescent-adult relationships may be beneficial.Considering that most adolescents in their study identified at least one person who theylook up to and that these role models were mostly adult relatives, it is vitalthat parents and family members model prosocial behavior for their adolescentchildren Works Cited Bandura A. Sociallearning theory. GeneralLearning Press; New York: 1971.
Erikson EH. Identity:Youth & Crisis. Norton; NewYork: 1968.
Hurd, N.M., Hurd. Zimmerman, M.A. and Xue.
Y. (2008). Negative adult influences and theprotective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents