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Psychology Glossary

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Social Cognitive Theory



Social Cognitive Theory:

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The social cognitive theory states that we learn behaviors through observation, modeling, and motivation such as positive reinforcement. Some influential psychologists of this theory were N.E. Miller and Albert Bandura. They found that this type of social learning was strengthened if the observer identified with their "model." This meant that children were more likely to repeat behaviors they had seen other children their age do, although they might model adults as well. Learning is also stregthened if someone models a behavior he or she has seen rewarded. This leads to a motivation for the person to model the behavior in order to get a similar reward.