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Social Learning Theory Aggression Aggression is behaviour intended to harm another Aggressive behaviour can be verbal physical or indirect The social learning theorists view aggression as a behaviour that is learned through observation and maintained through reinforcement Within this essay I shall discuss the limitations of these views as well as other theories of aggression We learn both aggressiveness and how to express aggression through direct reinforcement indirect enforcement identification and imitation Bandura et al 1961 1963 showed that if children saw an adult behave aggressively towards a doll called Bobo by kicking punching and shouting at it they were more likely to imitate these actions and even more likely to imitate the adults if they were rewarded Bandura claimed that if aggression were identified early in children they would refrain from becoming criminals in later life However biological theorist argue that the children used in the Bobo experiment were manipulated into responding to an aggressive movie also teased and frustrated because they could not touch the other toys on display in the room Biological theorists claim that this experiment was unethical and morally wrong as Bandura was training the children to be aggressive Another argument Bandura uses in favour of the social learning theory is that environmental experience such as the influences from the media may lead to increased aggression He claims that if an individual watches a programme and the hero commits acts of violence and is rewarded instead of being punished this can form behaviour modelling giving the watcher the idea that it is acceptable to be aggressive However critics of this theory have argued that violence on the television allows the watcher to relate with the characters involved in the violent act so therefore they are able to release all aggressive thoughts and feelings through relation This would then cause them to refrain from being aggressive the terminology for the decrease in aggression is the catharsis
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