Social Learning Theory of Aggression
It is already noted that Bandura was responsible for the bobo doll studies, where an egg-shape balloon with a weight in the bottom was used, which bobbed up once knocked down (Rosenstock, et al., 1988). The experiment suggests that children imitated what was done on the doll (hitting, punching, and shouting at it) without waiting for any reward. This is where social learning theory is based, observational learning or modeling (ibid). It suggests that both the environment and psychological factors create a kind of behavior that an individual acts upon. It states that individuals, especially children, learn and act according to what they see in the environment, which is based on imitation. They become socialized within such an environment, pursuing a modeled behavior. It is then significant to point out that since children imitate values, actions, and social behavior modeled to them, it is thus, better that these actions and values are good and correct in order for them to act as valuable social beings.
The social learning theory has a continuous reciprocal interaction among behavioral, cognitive, and environmental influences. It points to us the relevance of observing and modeling in order for an individual to imitate a perceived appropriate social behavior. It has extensively been applied to understanding aggressive behaviors and how an individual may be influenced to trail the path of aggression.
The two teens who have shot and killed a tourist at an interstate rest area are said to have modeled behavior on their environment, which is aggressive and geared toward taking the act lightly. Hence, the two teens have certainly seen this action as “cool” and “not a big deal,” which likely emphasizes the same environment in which they function. It was not overnight behavioral learning.