Observational Learning - Neshaminy School District

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Joel McCrea
Joel McCrea

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Unit 6 (F):
Learning By
A.P. Psychology
(In Journal)
 What
is a behavior that you possess
that you may have learned through
 Who
did you learn it from?
 Why
do you think it became reinforced?
Learning By Observation
Observational Learning:
Learning by observing others
 Also called Social Learning
 Albert Bandura
The process of observing and
imitating a specific behavior
Learning By Observation
Higher animals,
especially humans, learn
through observing and
imitating others.
The monkey on the
right imitates the
monkey on the left in
touching the pictures in
a certain order to
obtain a reward.
Observational Learning and Language
do you
pronounce the word
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Observational Learning and Language
Observational Learning and Language
Have you ever traveled to another country,
or another region of the US, and found
yourself speaking and/or acting similar to
the people of that region?
Why do you think your speech and/or
behavior changed?
Mirror Neurons
Mirror Neurons:
Frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing
certain actions or when observing another doing so
 The brain’s mirroring of another’s action may enable
imitation and empathy
Mirror Neurons
Frontal lobe neurons that fire when performing
certain actions or when observing another doing so.
The brain’s mirroring of another’s actions may enable
imitation and empathy.
*Our brain’s mirror neurons underlie our intensely
social nature.
{hard to frown when viewing a smile than when viewing
a frown; yawning after watching another’s yawn;
laughing when others laugh…etc}
Imitation Onset
Learning by observation
begins early in life.
This 14-month-old child
imitates the adult on TV, in
pulling a toy apart.
Imitation in Children
 Can
you remember any ways that you
imitated others (parents, older siblings,
cousins, etc.) as a child?
 Can
you remember any ways that your
younger siblings, cousins, etc.
imitated you?
Bandura’s “Bobo Doll” Experiment
Bandura's “Bobo Doll”
Experiment (1961)
indicated that individuals
(children) learn through
imitating others who
receive rewards and
Applications of
Observational Learning
Unfortunately, Bandura’s
studies show that
antisocial models
(family, neighborhood, or TV)
may have antisocial effects.
Applications of
Observational Learning
Gentile et al., (2004)
shows that children in
elementary school
who are exposed to
violent television, videos,
and video games express
increased aggression.
Applications of
Observational Learning
What are some
TV shows, video games, or
movies that you were
exposed to as a child
that modeled
aggressive behavior?
Applications of
Observational Learning
Research shows that viewing media violence leads
to an increased expression of aggression.
Children modeling after pro wrestlers
Violence-Viewing Effect
Stems from 2 factors:
1. Imitation – mirror neurons simulate behavior
that is viewed. One research team found a
sevenfold increase in violent play immediately
after kids viewed Power Rangers (Boyatzis et
al.,1995). Another ex.: 1st week after Columbine,
PA had 60 threats of school violence & every
(-VT) had to deal w/ copcat threats.
2. Prolonged exposure to violence also desensitizes
viewers; they become indifferent. In one study,
adult males who spent 3 evenings watching
sexually violent movies became progressively
less bothered by the rapes & slashings.
Applications of
Observational Learning
Fortunately, prosocial (positive, helpful) models
may have prosocial effects.
Applications of
Observational Learning
Prosocial Behavior:
Positive, constructive, helpful behavior
 The opposite of antisocial behavior
What is Observational Learning? How does it differ
from Classical and Operant Conditioning?
What are mirror neurons and how do they enable
empathy and imitation?
What did Albert Bandura conclude about observational
learning through his “Bobo Doll” Experiment?
What are prosocial and antisocial behavior and what
are some ways that they are modeled?

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