Mischel and Bandura

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Mischel and Bandura: 

Mischel and Bandura Cognitive Social Learning Theory

I. Biography: Walter Mischel (1930-): 

I. Biography: Walter Mischel (1930-) Mischel’s family fled Austria during beginning of WWII & immigrated to NYC. After graduating from CUNY, he worked as a social worker with juvenile delinquents. Michel left NY to pursue his doctorate at Ohio State University. He worked with George Kelly & Julian Rotter (both cognitive theorists). Mischel did most of his theoretical work at Stanford University (1962-1983) & currently is faculty at Columbia University.

II. Biography: Albert Bandura (1925-): 

II. Biography: Albert Bandura (1925-) Bandura, a Canadian, was a gifted student who graduated from the University of British Columbia, in 3 years. He completed his graduate work in clinical psychology from the University of Iowa in 1952. Unlike other theorists, his entire career has been spent at Stanford University. Bandura has received multiple honors (including the APA’s award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in 1980) & served as APA President.

III. Mischel’s theory: 

III. Mischel’s theory Mischel turned the personality field on its ear, by arguing against the idea of consistency of personality across situations & time. Mischel & Peake (1982) examined consistency of “conscientiousness” & “friendliness” in college students. The results showed that students respond inconsistently across situations (r=.13, p>.05).

Mischel & Peake (1982): 

Mischel & Peake (1982) Critics argued that Mischel & Peake’s result was due to methodological errors (unreliable measurement, failure to aggregate across situations, etc.) Higher cross-situational consistencies have been found by correlating observer ratings of behavior rather than simple behaviors. However, the raters themselves may be biased toward seeing consistency.

The Consistency Paradox:: 

The Consistency Paradox: Is the discrepancy between intuition & empirical findings. We believe people behave consistently, yet the data indicate low cross-situational consistency. E.g., People who are honest in the workplace may cheat on their taxes. Mischel argued that our behavior is specific to the context of the situation.

Mischel’s view: Social Learning Theory: 

Mischel’s view: Social Learning Theory This approach doesn’t predict that behavior will be consistent across situations. It argues that our behavior in a given situation depends on the consequences of our actions (rewards, punishments). Its adaptive to modify our behavior given the context of the situation to maximize our gains & minimize our losses.

When does consistency occur?: 

When does consistency occur? Consistency occurs only when the same behavior is reinforced in a variety of situations or if a person is unable to discriminate among situations

Did Mischel disregard traits all together?: 

Did Mischel disregard traits all together? No!!! Mischel noted that traits may be useful because they provide summaries of multiple behavioral observations & as such have descriptive usefulness.

The Situational Context of Behavior: 

The Situational Context of Behavior Mischel sought to develop models of how traits (oversimplified explanations of behavior) affect behavior in situations. E.g., cheerful people aren’t happy all the time. A given trait (aggressiveness, cheerfulness) influences behavior only under certain conditions. For example, the trait of aggressiveness will become apparent only under certain conditions (when person feels angry or frustrated). Then person may act noticeably different from others low on this trait.

Situational context (contd.): 

Situational context (contd.) Situations activate thoughts & emotions that were developed as a result of prior experience with that situation. Moods, fantasies, plans, etc. are triggered by specific situations. So a situation reflects not only the situational variables, but also the person’s experiences. E.g., A person overly sensitive to rejection may respond to the smallest hint of abandonment with aggression.

Cognitive Person variables: 

Cognitive Person variables Mischel looked at processes that influence a person’s behavior in given situations. These cognitive person variables influence how individuals adapt to the environment. These include: encoding strategies & personal constructs, competencies, expectancies, subjective stimulus values, etc.

Personal Constructs:: 

Personal Constructs: Are trait terms that people use to describe themselves & other people. They are personal –they describe individuals & vary from one person to another. We also have encoding strategies (ways of interpreting situations) that influence how we behave from one situation to the next.

Why do we make the error that personality traits are consistent?: 

Why do we make the error that personality traits are consistent? Researchers examine personality consistency based on similar behavior across many situations. In contrast, the individual looks for consistency across time in a small number of behaviors that are seen as particularly characteristic (prototypical) of a given trait. We judge whether a person has a trait (extravert) based on how much they resemble the prototype, but some are difficult to classify.

Competencies & expectancies: 

Competencies & expectancies Competencies--refers to what people are capable of doing & what they know (are assessed through incentives). Mischel argues these are more stable across time & situations than are most personality traits. Expectancies—these are our beliefs that can influence how we behave in a given situation.

Types of expectancies:: 

Types of expectancies: 1.  Behavior-Outcome expectancies—what will happen if I act in a certain way.   (e.g., If I study for 10 hours, I’ll ace the test.) 2.  Stimulus-Outcome expectancies—What will happen in the world to influence me (politics, war, etc.) 3. Self-efficacy expectancies—can I actually perform the behavior I want to. (e.g., Can I actually discipline myself to study 10 hours to ace the test?)    

Delay of gratification:: 

Delay of gratification: It is adaptive for us to learn to delay immediate gratification of small rewards for larger rewards in the future. Mischel studied children’s abilities & strategies to delay gratification of small food rewards (marshmallows, pretzels). He found that children could do this if they could keep the rewards out of sight or distract themselves (think about something else). Most children master this by 5.

IV. Bandura’s theory: Modeling: 

IV. Bandura’s theory: Modeling Bandura believed that social context was critical to personality development. He argued that we acquire behaviors & are influenced by observing others. His classic work has advanced the field of aggression within social psychology.

Learning theory before Bandura: 

Learning theory before Bandura Before Bandura, traditional learning theory held a faulty assumption: A response needs to be produced in order to be reinforced & hence, strengthened.

Bandura’s view: 

Bandura’s view Humans learn by watching others. You don’t have to produce a behavior yourself, to learn the consequences of producing such behavior. E.g., Jane learns not to jump on the coffee table, because she watched her brother get into trouble for doing so last week.

Bandura’s classic aggression study: 

Bandura’s classic aggression study Do children learn aggressive responses by watching adults? Yes!!!!! Bandura had children 3 to 5 years-old watch adults produce aggressive behavior against a Bobo doll.

What kids watched!!: 

What kids watched!! “First the model laid the Bobo doll on its side, sat on it, and punched it in the nose while remarking, “Pow, right in the nose, boom, boom.” The model them raised the doll and pummeled it on the head with a mallet. Each response was accompanied by the verbalization, “Sockeroo…stay down.” Following the mallet aggression, the model kicked the doll about the room, and these responses were interspersed with the comment, “Fly, away.” Finally, the model threw rubber balls at the Bobo doll, each strike punctuated with “Bang.” This sequence of physically and verbally aggressive behavior was repeated twice.”(Bandura, 1965b, pp.590-591)

Experimental paradigm: Bobo Doll Study: 

Experimental paradigm: Bobo Doll Study 1. No-consequences group—kids saw that nothing happened to the adult in the film. 2. Model-Punished group—kids saw that the adult was punished by another adult in the film. 3. Model-Rewarded group—kids saw that the adult was rewarded by another adult in the films (verbal praise, food). After this, each child was left in a room with a Bobo Doll & their aggressive responses were recorded by a hidden observer.

Results: Bobo Doll study: 

Results: Bobo Doll study 1. There was significantly less aggression produced in the Model-Punished group than in the other two groups. 2. There was no difference between the Model-Rewarded Condition & the No-Consequences condition. Results were similar for boys & girls, although girls usually show lower levels of aggression. Thus, kids can learn to produce aggressive responses & will only do so if punishment is unlikely.

Modeling in Adulthood: 

Modeling in Adulthood Adults acquire skills by observing others as well. In one study, female college students were more likely to use a seat belt if the driver did. So we often will follow the lead of others (“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Reciprocal Determinism:: 

Reciprocal Determinism: Recognizes that the person, the environment, & behavior all influence one another in a dynamic way (system). Therefore, the environment not only causes behavior, but is influenced by behavior. People choose how to act in given situations depending on their personalities & this influences their behavior.

Self-Regulation of Behavior: the Self-System : 

Self-Regulation of Behavior: the Self-System Why do some people put off completing tasks or make excuses for their inability to produce, while others take charge and get things done? Bandura argues, because those that get things done are effective at self-regulating their behavior.

The Self-System: 

The Self-System Consists of cognitive structures that enables us to perceive, evaluate, & regulate behavior. Self-regulation does not simply mean giving ourselves reinforcements. Rather, we devise multiple sub-goals in order to achieve a large goal (writing a book) & we reinforce ourselves as we achieve each of these smaller sub-goals along the way. Make rewards contingent on making subgoals.

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