Prosocial to, or observational learning. The people performing the

and Antisocial Modelling and its effect on Learning.


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Many of
us in our childhood have people that we have looked up to while growing up,
such as a parent, relative, or close friend. Many of the way we learn about the
world come from watching and emulating other people, especially those we look
up to, or observational learning. The people performing the copied
behaviors are called models. If you want to see modeling in action, look
no further than a small child pretending to be a crusader they saw in a cartoon
or on television. 

in the Modeling Process

knowledge through observation takes more than pure imitation. In fact,
professor and psychologist, Albert Bandura, described the specific steps
associated with this process, including attention, retention, and

First, we
must focus our attention on what we are observing and not become
distracted by other things. If we do not focus on the behavior, then there is
no chance of emulating it. Next, we must have a way to retain what we
witnessed and store it in our memory. We must be able
to reproduce the behavior to do it ourselves later. Finally, we must
also be motivated, or desire to learn, in order to start learning in the
first place. 

demonstrated how a person progresses through the stages of modeling by
observing children imitating an adult’s aggressive and violent behavior. In one
part of what would become known as the ‘Bobo the Doll experiment’, Bandura observed
how children three to six years of age would act towards a five-foot inflatable
doll if an adult first treated the doll in an aggressive manner. They also
observed that the adult was not punished for treating the doll this way.
According to the results, the children imitated the aggressive behavior of the
adult towards the doll, which did not come as much of a surprise. 

of Positive Modeling

As a
result of his studies, Bandura concluded that modeling can have
both prosocial or positive, helpful effects on relationships, as well
as antisocial or negative effects on relationships and behavior. In
other words, children are more likely to imitate positive behavior if they’re
exposed to appropriately behaved models. Growing up, a child’s parents or
primary caretakers are likely to act as their biggest sources of information
when learning about the world. Early on, children are more likely to imitate
behavior they learn at home versus anywhere else. 

example, if we want children to be healthy, we should let them see us
exercising and eating nutritious foods. If we want them to act with good
manners in social situations, we must also show them what that looks like by
being polite and kind with others. 

of Negative Modeling

Just as
children are likely to reproduce good behavior by observing positive role
models, they are also just as likely to reproduce observable bad behaviors. In
fact, data suggests that some children who are abused growing up are more
likely to become abusers themselves, which leads to a vicious cycle of


Adults influence the lives of adolescents in a variety of
ways. Bandura (1971) suggests that people tend to display behaviors that are
learned either intentionally or inadvertently, through the influence of example.
Since identity formation is a central focus during adolescence, adolescents are
particularly likely to be influenced by the adults in their environment (Erikson,
1968). Adolescents often look to adults in order to determine
appropriate and acceptable behavior, as well as to identify models of who they
want to be like. Adult influences, however, can be both positive and negative,
and some adults may be more influential than others. In this study, we focused
on the negative influences that nonparental adults can have on adolescents and
explored the relationship between exposure to negative nonparental adult
behavior and negative youth outcomes. We also used a resilience framework to
investigate if role models protected youth against the negative effects of
exposure to negative nonparental adult behavior. Additionally, we explored the
significance of having a role model who was the same gender as the adolescent
and the significance of having parents as role models.

Hurd et al study titled “Negative adult influences and the protective
effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents.

In their findings the researchers found that efforts to
develop or improve adolescent-adult relationships may be beneficial.
Considering that most adolescents in their  study identified at least one person who they
look up to and that these role models were mostly adult relatives, it is vital
that parents and family members model prosocial behavior for their adolescent








Works Cited



Bandura A. Social
learning theory. General
Learning Press; New York: 1971.



Erikson EH. Identity:
Youth & Crisis. Norton; New
York: 1968.



Hurd, N.
M.,  Hurd.  Zimmerman, M.A. and Xue. Y.  (2008). Negative adult influences and the
protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents




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