Bandura and Skinner

1766 Words Dec 15th, 2009 8 Pages
A Comparison and Contrast of Learning Theories:
Albert Bandura and B.F. Skinner

Introduction

Two prominent researchers, B.F. Skinner and Albert Bandura, have developed theories which provide differing perspectives and explanations regarding the learning behavior of individuals. The purpose of this writing is to explore the theoretical perspectives of Operant Conditioning Theory developed by B.F. Skinner and Social Learning Theory developed by Albert Bandura. An overview of both theories is presented, followed by a discussion of their similarities and differences.
Methods

B.F. Skinner: Operant Conditioning Theory

B.F. Skinner’s theory of Operant Conditioning has at its foundation a desire to demonstrate a “cause and effect”
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He also recognizes that character traits within a person can influence behavior, but does not believe traits alone can explain behavior and learning. Instead, Bandura expanded upon these theories and developed the concept of reciprocal determinism, which posits that the person, their environment, and behavior all influence one another. Bandura argued that personal factors affect behavior, which alters the environment, and that environment is not only a cause of behavior, but also an effect of behavior, and these all operate “as interlocking determinants of each other” (Bandura, 1978, p. 346). Therefore, if we are going to attempt to understand human behavior, all of these factors and their mutual influences must be recognized. (Cloninger, 2007, p.353). Self Regulation. Bandura’s theory is essentially an agentic perspective, which views people as self-organizing, proactive, and self-regulating, as opposed to being reactive organisms shaped solely by environmental forces. His theory posits that human beings have a considerable amount of control over their own behavior, though they may exhibit variations on how effectively they exert it. Bandura believed that individuals can be, essentially, self-directed, at least to the extent that they are able to make goals and then track and evaluate their own progress.…

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