Albert Bandura

Media and it's effect on young people's behaviour has been a constant concern of politicians and parents. In the 1930's it was the negative effect of cinema violence, in the 1950's comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency, in the 1960's it was T.V. Today it's YouTube and video games.

In the radio programme Mind Changers Claudia Hammond revisits Albert Bandura's Bobo doll studies and interviews Bandura about his ideas and research. She discuses the impact of his work and presents some interesting applications of his findings in changing social norms and promoting pro-social behaviour.

The programme outlines how at the time of Bandura's Bobo doll studies behaviourism was the dominant theory of learning and how it emphasised the role of direct experience. Bandura thought that this was unable to explain how people really behaved and focused on the importance of observational learning. Bandura makes the interesting point that Behaviourism and Freud's concept of Catharsis were both developed before T.V. and that they could not account for the social influence of this new technology.

Many students make the AO2 point that Bandura's research may have raised ethical issues: participation in the studies may have led to the aquisition of aggressive behaviour. Bandura was clearly troubled by this possibility and he explains that it was this ethical issue that led him to abandon research on this topic.

Claudia Hammond also interviews the psychologist Tanya Byron who was appointed by the U.K. government to investigate the effect of new media, the internet and violent video games, on children and young people. The review has just been published. As usual with research on the effects of media violence the findings are mixed. If you follow the links below you can read a BBC report on the Byron review and the full report itself. 

Mind Changers: Albert Bandura

BBC Article on the Byron Review

Byron Review

No comments: