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Aggression/Behaviorism: according to behaviorism as conceptualized by Skinner (1953)(1). The main mechanism through which individuals were believed to learn aggression (or any behavior) was through operant conditioning. That is, if an individual’s behavior was reinforced by some form of reward, which could be something tangible such as money or possession of a desired object or intangible such as praise, this reinforcement would increase the likelihood that the individual would behave in that way again in the future. >Reinforcement sensivity theory.
VsBehaviorism: behaviorism falls short in explaining how individuals come to behave in particular ways when they have received no previous reinforcement for that behavior.
Miller/Dollard: To address that limitation, Miller and Dollard (1941)(2) introduced the idea that individuals could learn new behaviors by imitating others. However, in Miller and Dollard’s procedure for studying imitation, individuals witnessed a model being rewarded for engaging in a particular behavior, and they themselves then had the opportunity to engage in the same behavior, also receiving rewards for it.
Bandura, Ross, and Ross (1961)(3) made a tremendous contribution to understanding learning by demonstrating that aggressive behavior could be learned even in the absence of any rewards and solely by observing the behavior of an adult model.
1. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.
2. Miller, N. E., & Dollard, J. (1941). Social learning and imitation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
3. Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575—582.
Jenifer E. Lansford, “Aggression. Beyond Bandura’s Bobo Doll Studies“, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications _____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012