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Case Study

2755 words - 12 pages

Title: Case study
Word count: 2,300

Bandura’s (1977) core argument posits that human behaviour can be learnt vicariously by observing and imitating others behaviours, a process which he calls modelling (Wortley, 2011). He argues that social learning does not require only direct experiences as radical behaviourists of operant and classical conditioning suggest (Wortley, 2011). Bandura (1977) supports his argument with three reasons. The first is that behaviour is learned through observation (Cherry, 2013). The second is that cognitive mediation is an essential part of the learning process (Cherry, 2013). The third is that not all learned behaviour is repeated (Cherry, 2013). This is ...view middle of the document...

Firstly, that behaviour is a product of environmental influences and is therefore learned as a result of observation and modelling (Cherry, 2013). Secondly, it assumes people are capable of determining their behaviour despite the effect of the environment by mediating with cognitive reasoning (Cherry, 2013). Within these concepts Bandura (1977) identifies three stages of learning; acquisition, instigation and maintenance (Wortley, 2011). This essay will firstly explore how Ben acquired the behaviour. Secondly, how Ben’s behaviour is instigated. Thirdly, how Ben’s behaviour is maintained. Fourthly, the essay will stress Bandura’s cognitive mitigating factors and how this can determine the response. Fifthly, the essay uses Burton, Miller and Shill’s (2002) ‘the victim to victimizer’ argument, to further enforce how Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory applies to Ben’s case study. To conclude, the essay will effectively show that Ben is not solely responsible for his behaviour as the environment significantly impacted upon his responses and his models cognitively distorted his perceptions on sexual relations.
The first stage of learning is acquisition. Ben’s rape of younger boys is mainly acquired via the familial model (Wortley, 2011). Firstly he observed his alcoholic father rape his mother repeatedly. Secondly he witnessed what can be assumed was abusive and sexualised behaviour towards other women. Finally, Ben was also victim to his father’s deviant behaviour, and suffered both sexual and physical abuse. He then imitated this behaviour after he left home (Felson, & Lane, 2009). Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment found that children mostly modelled people who they viewed as their role models, people they respected (Parish, 2010). Also the study found that the children were more likely model individuals of the same sex (Parish, 2010). In Ben’s case the model is his father (Wortley, 2011). This is impactful on both these levels. Further, the model demonstrated to Ben that this type of behaviour was normative, which is reinforced by his mother’s failure to intervene and stop the abuse (Burton, Miller & Shill, 2002). Also the model teaches Ben the specific strategies and skills required to perform the abuse (Burton et al., 2002). In addition, Ben’s subcultural models introduced him to prostitution (Wortley, 2011). This gave him additional opportunity to acquire sexual skills and taught him that sexualised behaviour resulted in rewards, such as money to support his drug and alcohol addictions, further reinforcing his behaviour (Felson & Lane, 2009). It is also possible in accordance with Bandura’s (1977) argument that Ben had continued exposure to this behaviour through symbolic models (Wortley, 2011). That due to the abusive experiences, and values Ben had developed that he would be attracted to images of violent or coercive pornography depicted in the media which would have also provided him with further learning operandi (Burton et...

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