Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Observational Learning

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1801-1

Synonyms

Definition

Observational learning is the acquisition of new behaviors that occurs when an individual, or observer, watches a model, or actor, perform the target behavior.

Introduction

Observational learning, also referred to as vicarious or social learning or modeling, is learning that occurs from watching another actor perform the behavior. This theory of learning was first presented by Albert Bandura (1965) and was in stark contrast to the behavioral movement which emphasized the role of first-hand experience of reinforcement in learning.

Observational Learning involves an individual, or observer, to learning to perform a behavior of a model, or actor. This model has four components, all of which must occur for an observer to learn: attention, retention, motor reproduction, and motivation.

Attention

“Attentional processes determine what is selectively observed” (Bandura 1977, p. 24). In other words, an individual must first...

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References

  1. Bandura, A. (1965). Influence of models’ reinforcement contingencies on the acquisition of imitative responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1(6), 589–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (2004). Observational learning. In J. H. Byrne (Ed.), Learning and memory (2nd ed., pp. 482–484). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (2006). Toward a psychology of human agency. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(2), 164–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brewer, K., & Wann, D. (1998). Observational learning effectiveness as a function of model characteristics: Investigating the importance of social power. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 26, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National UniversityLa JollaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Catherine Cottrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesNew College of FloridaSarasotaUSA