We learn through a stimulus and response
action involuntarily when we learn to associate a
stimulus with a resulting behaviour.
Example - UCS>UCR UCS+CS>UCR CS>CR
EXAMPLE WITH BABIES
Pavlov realised that a dog would salivate when
presented with food so he began to ring a bell each
time they were presented with food. Eventually the
dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell alone as
they made an association with the bell and food.
Weakness - As an animal was used,
we cannot generalise the findings to
humans as we as much more
complex in the way that we behave,
meaning we may not associate in
the same way.
Strength - the idea is still used today to
treat problem behaviours which suggests
the theory is accurate.
We learn through the consequence of behaviour. if weare reinforced, this
strengthens the behaviour and we are more likely to repeat it. however if we
are punished, we are less likely to repeat the behaviour.
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT - receiving a reward
when a certain behaviour is performed. EG. Verbal
NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT - when a certain
behaviour is performed in order to avoid something
unpleasant. EG. Doing homework to avoid a detention
Skinner used a rat in a box and when the rat pressed a lever, food would be
presented. At first they pressed it accidently but eventually repeated the action as
they would be rewarded with food. Also, they would press the correct lever in
order to avoid receiving an electric shock.
strength - it has practical applications such as being
used in schools when praising correct answers,
suggesting it's accurate.
weakness - it only accounts for simplistic behaviours and it
might not be that this can explain the more complex
behaviours in humans
As they focus on observable behaviour, they
allow psychologists to be objective and
replicate the studies to see if findings are
reliable which helps to establish Psychology
as more scientific.
They have real life applications such as operant
conditioning in prisons and and classical can be used to
treat phobias. This supports the theories as if they can
be used in the real world then there must be truth to
They do not account for thought
and conscious processes which
explains humans to be quite
machine like and this is a very
it does not account for free will and choice, but
instead suggests that our behaviour is
determined by our environment such as past
experience and reinforcement. Therefore, it is
deterministic as it suggests we are influenced
only by other factors.
As the main studies were on animals, it is difficult to
generalise the findings to humans as may not behave in the
same way for the same reasons as we are much more
complex. Also, the studies are unethical as they were
exposed to harmful situations and this may be the reason
for their behaviour, not the conditioning.
Assumes that behaviour is learned from the environment. Behaviour is learnt through observation &
imitation of others. We learn through stimulus & response. There are 4 mediational processes between:
attention, retention, reproduction, motivation. We observe a role model and imitate the behaviour
(modelling). We are more likely to imitate the behaviour if we can identify with the role model. Vicarious
reinforcement helps us to decide whether to imitate the behaviour. If we see the role model being
rewarded for their behaviour, we are motivated to model the behaviour.
Attention: we notice the behaviour being performed by the role model
Reproduction: if we are able, we will perform the observed behaviour.
Retention: we store the information in our long term memory.
Motivation: if there is a level of incentive, we will continue to display this behaviour in the future.
Aim: to see the effect of a model on behaviour & if
the sex of a model influences a same-sex and
opposite-sex participant differently.
Method: 36 Male & 36 Female children 4-6 years old. An adult of each gender acted
as a role model. 4 groups saw an aggressive model, 4 saw non-aggressive
behaviour. They were further divided into same-sex & opposite-sex models. Put into
a room on their own with a role model and a bobo doll, a hammer & other toys. The
aggressive model hit the doll with a hammer and shouted violent things. The others
saw the model playing nicely with the doll & other toys. After 10 minutes they were
taken to another room and told not to play with anything whilst left alone. They
were observed for 20 minutes.
weakness - a bobo doll is designed to be punched so
the children may not have been behaviour
aggressively but actually just playing.
strength - it can be replicated and as similar results have
been found, the reliability of the findings increases.
Findings: Children who observed an aggressive role model
showed more aggression towards the bobo doll. Boys showed
more aggression than girls. Those with the same sex role
model showed more aggression
It expands on the conditioning theories as it accounts for the
importance of the cognitive process between a stimulus and the
resulting behaviour. This is good because it is a more expansive account
of behaviour as it includes the mediational processes.
It accounts for cultural differences within behaviour because it suggests we learn
from other individuals, as well as through media. This is a strength as it can
explain why different behaviours occur within different cultures.
It can be used in real life for things such as adverts for weight loss
and healthier diets as the vicarious reinforcement and role models
that people can identify with persuades people to become healthier.
This is good because it has real life applications suggesting it must
work in the real world which strengthens the theory.
A lot of the studies that support the theory are lab-based meaning
they’re artificial so the results can’t be generalised to everybody.
This weakens the theory as not everybody may learn in the way
that SLT suggests.
It does not account for biological factors that could
influence behaviour such as hormones and genes.
It may not be true that others always cause our behaviour. A person may
possess certain traits that make them behave in such a way and they
choose to surround themselves with people who behave in a similar way.
This weakens the theory as it is difficult to establish a clear cause and