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Skinner’s behaviorism and Bandura’s cognitive social learning of personality

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B. F. Skinner and Albert Bandura are the well-known psychologist. Skinner argued that behavior was caused by forces outside the person. Operant conditioning is the theory of B. F. Skinner and is defined as the type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment. The theory of B. F. Skinner is based on the idea that learning is a function of change in overy behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual’s response to events that occur in the environment. A response produces a outcome. Action on part of the learner is called a response.

For an example, purcharsing behaviors is a response occurs in the presence of distinctive stimuli, as people want to buy the cheapest stuffs in supermarket’s environment. Supermaket often give us stamps which can be used in exchange for gifts. Stamps is a secondary reinforcer become reinforcing through the association with gift, a primary reinforcer. It encourages purcharsing behaviors through a system of rewards. When a desired stimulus-response pattern is reinforced, the individual conditioned to response in a certain way, and learning takes place. Bandura emphasizes how behavior is influenced by social and cognitive variables.

He is the originator of observational learning. John and Janice (2001) define that “observation learning involves the learning of new behavior. When an observer sees a model do a behavior that the observer has never done, the observer may learn how to do the behavior merely by watching. ” For an example, we queued up for the bus in Hong Kong as we observe other were queued up for the bus. People can learn a great deal activity by observing other. The operant conditioning focus on the frequency of behavior change by reinforcement or punishment, but the observational learning focus on subject act the new behavior by observing other.

The Bobo doll experiment was conducted by Bandura in 1961. Some children saw adult aggress on Bobo doll and some saw a neutral interaction between adult and the Bobo doll. The model’s aggressive behaviors were distinctive and the children have never seen before. Each child was observed alone. Under a model-punished condition, children reproduced less aggressive behavior. However, childen who were under a model-rewarded or no-consequences condition, reproduced similarly more aggressive behavior. The result implicated that learning occurred because of observation, not reward.

From observing other behavior to get our expectations about its consequences. Bandura argues that most behavior is performed in the absence of external reinforcements and punishment. However, Skinner through Skinner box, observe the behavioral change of lower animals such as rats and pigeons. As these kind of animals are better control. The findings can be generalized to explain human behavior. Skinner found that our behavior cause consequences, some responses are strengthened while other are weakened. Reinforcement and punishment are consequence that produces an increase or decrease in certain behavior in the future.

Reinforment can strengthen behavior in a given environment. Rewardeing stimulus increases responding is positive reinforcement. Professor gives positive comment to my assignment. Removal of negative stimulus in order to increase responding is negative reinforcement. Skinner’s recognition of individual differences, no particular consequence is always a reinforcer for different people. Extra ten precent bonus score for APA style may be a positive reinforcer to some student, they try hard to get extra marks. Some student, however, ignore the APA style to get extra marks, as the bonus score is not a positive reinforcer to them.

Punishment can weaken behavior in a given environment. Presenting an aversive stimulus to decrease responding is positive punishment. Tutorial do not take your attendence if you late more than ten minute late, decrease the rate of coming late. Removal of pleasant stimulus reduces responding is negative punishment. Late penalty is introduced to assignment, ten marks lost for each late day. In order not to be penalty, I tend to hand in my assignment in time. Punishment, however, may be effective in reducing undesirable behavior in the short period.

The major difference between Bandura’s theory and Skinner’s theory is Bandura’s emphasis on cognitive aspects of human personality. Bandura rejects the idea of people as large, complex rats. According to Bandura, the learning of consequence to personality is cognitive. The four basic processes of observational learning including attentional processes, retention processes, motor reproduction processes, and motivational processes. In attentional proesses, people select important aspects of the observed behavior to attend to, it mostly depends on the characteristics of the model and the characteristics of the observer himself.

Afterthat, information is stored by mental representations and verbal coding in retention processes. Although the observer has no skill, no confidence, and no opportunity to reproduce the observed behavior, the new behavior has been added into the person’s protential repertoire in motor reproduction processes. Feedback also can improve the reproduction. Motivation processes is required, it is because the observer may not perform the learned behavior without motivated. Reinforcement always determines the peerfomance of the observed behavior.

Bandura believed that most behavior is performed without external reinforcements and punishments. Our dairy actions are controlled by self-regulation, the processes of exercising control through our self-initiated cognitive acts, over our own behavior. Bandura argues Skinner’s assertion that we can be swayed into performing just about any action if the environmental contingencies are altered appropriately. Sometimes people work to obtain external reward, Bandura think that we also work to obtain internal reward and self-imposed goals. For example, I study hard in order to enter the university.

The external reward should be an academic degree, and the interal reward come from the feelings of accomplishment and self-worth I get an academic degree. Self-regulation also includes self-punishment. When we can not maintain personal standard, we tend to feel bad about ourselves. The motivation of behavioral change is different between observational learning and operant conditioning. Bandura makes a distinction between learning and performance. People can learned through observation alone, however they need not be shown in their performance. Learning may or may not result in a behavior change.

The idea is different from Skinner who believes that we can not learn something until we have actually engaged in that behavior. An observer may show behavior changes immediately after seeing a model’s behavior during observational learning. Observer through observing other people to learn or change behavior, especially the model is significant to us, similar to us. Observer sometimes will attend to and acquir information from a model’s behavior if the observers respect, admire the model. Our wearing style are very often followed by our idol. When we observe many positive things in another, we find him/her is a very attractive model.

Even if we do not understand how their behavior is associated with rewards or positive emotion. We also tend to learn more from the model who is more similar to us. We always learn from models who have similar interests to ours. I found it very interesting in viewing blog which is about beauty, I pay close attention and learns from a beauty pro. People tend to interact longer with other who share common interests. Operant conditioning operates on the environment and is maintained by its consequences. I was used to tying my hair when I was a secondary school girl. If I broke my school discipline, I would be punished.

However, when I am a university student, there are no more restriction about appearance, I tend to fold down my hair. Behavior change is due to operate on the environment, not self direct. People change themselves behavior seem to be spontaneous in observational learning, however, people change themselves behavior seem to be compulsory. The limitation of operant conditioning is that the new behavior is not long lasting after the environmental change. Bandura bases his theory on the acquisition of complex behaviors on a triangular diagram illustrating the interactive effect of various variables.

These three variables are behavior (B), external environment (E), and person(P): cognitive and other internal events that influences perceptions and actions. The relationship between these three factors is known as reciprocal determinism. Behavior is not simply a function of environment or person varibles. Behavior, environment, and person varibles affect and are affected by each other. For an example, I dislike going market which is wet and dirty (low expectation), my mother hope me can go market with her.

As my mother ask me gently, I have no reason to reject her so I say yes (behavior-; person), and I found that market is not really dirty as I think, I feel good in market (external environment-; person). My expectation is higher than before (external enviroment-; person). The reciprocal determinism is different from radical behaviorism. Radical behaviorism has little explanations of human behavior. Radical behaviorism focus on how external events cause behavior. In reciprocal determinism, not only environment influence behavior, internal factor is also possible.

Bandura also believe that we have an impact on the environment, which is called self-efficacy. It means that if we think we can, we can. It influenced by past performances accomplishments, the experiences of models similar to oneself, emotional arousal ,and other’s verbal persuasion. Changing a client’s efficacy expectation is the key to a successful treatment programme. The common strength of two theory is that Skinner’s behaviorism and Bandura’s cognitive social learning based on empirical research. Compare with other approaches to personality, which are always based on intuition or data gathered from subjective sample.

Jerry (1997) think that Skinner and Bandura based their descriptions of human personality on empirical research findings and based on empirical data in the development ,and refinement of their theory. That is the reason why the bahavioral approach and social learning approach remains alive and well today. The strength of observational learning is that the learner may observe an unwanted behaviour and the subsequent consequences, and would therefore learn to refrain from that behaviour. For an example, my grandfather was a heavy smoker and he died of lung cancer, I observed the bad consequence on my gradfather.

Thus, I have never smoked. There is an argument toward radical behaviorism, as Skinner refuted mentalism which is the philosophy that explains behavior in terms of internal mental states. Skinner exclude all mental events, including drives and cognitive variables, because skinner think that all those variablet are unobservable and cannot be reliably measured. However, internal mental states is an important factor to determain the behavioral change. If I am depressed, I will not go out even my friend treat me to a meal. Thus, environment is not a exclusive factor to determine behavioral change.

Human beings are much more complex than the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. The unique characteristics of human beings, such as intellect, were neglected in skinner approach. Other criticize the behavioral approach underestimated the genetic factor of personality. It gives insufficient attention to the role of heredity, humans were depicted as lacking a free will and submitted to situational control. Complex interpersonal relationships could not be adequately explained by Skinner. Furthermore, it is hard to take place in adulthood, especially authoritative people.

We believed that only those who lack self esteem and self confidence are more prone to adopt the behavior of models. To conclude, operant conditioning results when a behavior is followed by reinforcement or punishment. Bandura has added to operant conditioning the notion that we learn via observing others. We perform the behaviors whether or not depend on our expectancies for rewards or punishment. Bandura’s cognitive social learning give more detail to explain human personality than Skinner’s behaviorism. Both approach are empirical base, however, inappropriate attention given to free will and heredity.

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