Faculty of Arts
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Post graduate program
Assigment Number 3
MARY’S CASE. A STUDY BASED ON BANDURA’S SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY.
(Application of one of the studied theories to a case study)
Willmer Perez Ronderos.
Word count: 4014
Bandura’s theory of social learning indicates that for an individual to develop intoan aggressor there has to be a learning stage. According to his studies no individual is born an aggressor but some will learn aggression throughout their social interaction and experiences and will use or refrain this “skill” depending on the circumstances and the situations they endure.
For an individual to learn this behaviour it needs to be somehow exposed to aggression, being anobservant witness, a victim, socially induced or self taught. According to Bandura primitive forms of aggression are easily self taught and don’t need a lot of guidance to be perfected, but some other complex forms need practice and guidance to be achieved.
Social learning theory puts more weight on the nurture side of human development. The reasons behind the behaviour relate more to theupbringing and the relationship between the individual, the environment, the cultural and educational level and the adhesion to morally accepted values. Genetics plays its part, but they are more related to the limits of the aggressive behaviours that can be learnt, performed and perfected.
Bandura created a list of the ways that, according to his studies, contributed to the learning ofaggression. My own observation is that the majority of these items are closely related to the home environment in which the individual is being brought up. Familial influence, symbolic influence and to some extent sub-cultural influences have their origins inside the family home and usually are the first examples instilled in a child during its formation. This is why the first years of theindividual formation are so important as it is then when the foundations of any future behaviour are set. These influences are so interlaced that it is difficult to try to isolate them from one another. It would be extremely complex to try to correct or re-educate an offender by isolating just one of these influences and work on it. There is a need of a deeper comprehension of the roots of the aggressionbefore implementing any rehabilitation program.
When talking about aggression according to Bandura’s theory it is also important to understand the mechanisms that trigger the violence. It goes further than what appears to be evident, as the same action won’t necessarily produce the same results with different individuals. These reactions are also related to what is perceived to be sociallyacceptable, what can give the individual a social advantage or a higher status, or what can help to accelerate the fulfilling of a desire, that can also be material, moral, social, etc.
Then we have aggressors who consciously or subconsciously choose when to aggress, depending on how rewarding or punitive this action can be for them. Meaning that even morally correct individuals could aggressothers if the conditions are set for them to walk away without any punishment for their actions.
To gain a better understanding of these triggers that Bandura enumerated is necessary to give a brief explanation about what each of them represents and how to identify them in the social context. This is important because the early identification of these triggers could help if a sociologicalstudy is to address the root of aggression to prevent its onset, or at least prevent the aggressive episode to take place before it is too late. The major contributors to elicit these aggressive responses according to Bandura are:
Modelling influences: Bandura found that people that are more freely exposed to aggressive behaviour tend to be more aggressive than those that are not. According...