Observational Learning Chapter 9 Learning & Behavior (Chance)
Chapter Guiding Questions • What is observational learning? • How is observational learning different from imitation? • What determines whether a model’s behavior will be imitated? • What factors influence how much we learn from models? • What theories attempt to account for observational learning? • Are there any applications of observational learning?
What is observational learning? • A change in behavior due to the experience of observing a model • Learning vicariously through the reinforcement and punishment of a model • Two basic procedures:
Examples of Vicarious Reinforcement • Observing a model’s behavior being reinforced
Examples of Vicarious Punishment • Observing a model’s behavior being punished
An Overview of Classic Experiments • Warden and colleagues’ experiments • Experiment with monkeys and raisins • 47% of observer monkeys solved the problem in 10 seconds • 75% of observer monkeys solved the problems in 30 seconds • Even monkeys who did not solve the problem indicated that they had learned something about it through their actions • Herbert & Harsh’s (1944) experiment with cats • Cats who observed a model cat turning a wheel to obtain food learned to perform the same task in considerably fewer trials
Bandura & McDonald’s (1963) study that taught children to use objective perspectives when judging misbehaviors • Children who observed a model being praised for being more objective were more likely to make objective judgments than those who had no model but only received praise for their own responses.
Rosekrans & Hartup’s (1967) inflatable doll study (similar to Bandura’sBobo doll studies) • Children who saw aggressive behavior reinforced played more aggressively; children who saw aggressive behavior punished played less aggressively. • Levy’s (1974) study of picture preferences • Children who saw a model’s choice approved were more likely to make the same choice. Children who saw a model’s choice criticized were less likely to make the same choice.
How is this different from imitation? • Imitation is simply copying a behavior after observing a model. • Observational learning may result in copying the behavior, but it may also result in doing some thing completely different as a result of observing the model.
Imitation is not necessary for observational learning to occur • Imitation might be evidence that learning did not occur • Imitation does not require the observation of consequences. Subjects have a tendency to imitate models regardless of whether or not a model receives reinforcement because imitation has paid off in the past
What factors influence observational learning? • Consequences of the model’s behavior • Consequences of the observer’s behavior • Observer’s age and learning history
Characteristics of the Model • Competence • Attractiveness • Likability • Prestige • Age • Sex • Popularity
Why does observational learning occur? • According to social cognitive theory, observational learning is due to four processes: • Attentional processes: Observer pays attention to the model. • Retentional processes: Observer is able to recall the information about the model’s behavior and repeat it (or a verbal representation of it). • Motor reproductive processes: Observer has the ability to engage in the actions to replicate the model actions or a variation of those actions. • Motivational processes: Observer is motivated to repeat the model’s behavior.
According to the Miller-Dollard reinforcement theory, observational learning is due to reinforcement. • Observational learning is a variation of operant learning. • Changes in the observer’s behavior are due to the consequences of the observer’s consequences (not the model’s consequences). • This theory places more emphasis on the observer’s history and experiences.