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Chemistry LibreTexts

Thinking Socially

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    Do you believe violent video games contribute to violent behavior from the person playing the game?


    • Is this nature—are people born aggressive?
    • Is this nurture—do people learn to be aggressive by watching others’ aggression?

    Observational Learning Theory

    According to Albert Bandura, this is nurture. Bandura, in 1965, conducted and video taped an experiment known as the “ Bobo-doll” experiment. Bandura hypothesized that people are observational learners; we learn from watching others. He felt that if children did not know hitting was unacceptable, but they saw this in their environment, the child would learn to hit.

    In the Bobo doll experiment, an inflated doll was pummeled by the woman experimenter with a child in the room. She hit the doll with a mallet, threw it in the air, threw the doll down, beat the doll, and kicked it. After this, she left the room. The room was monitored with video equipment and a double sided-mirror. The first subject, a little boy, modeled exactly what he saw. In fact, he devised new ways in which to beat this doll. The next subject, a little girl, modeled what she saw, as well. The room was equipped with other toys with which the children could play. The little girl stepped away into the play kitchen for a moment, and then she returned to the aggressive behavior with the doll.

    Can learned behavior be unlearned? Sure it can! People can be conditioned to respond differently to a stimulus.