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Albert Bandura argues that personality is shaped not only by environmental influences on the person, but also by the person’s ability to influence the environment. Social learning states that thinking is an important determinant of behavior. The inclusion of cpgnitive viewpoints within a behavioral framework has been a relatively recent trend, especially apparent in the work of personality learning theorist J. B. Rotter.

Rotter believes that tge most important variables in determining personality are the person’s expectations concerning future outocmes and the values of different reinforcements that might occur in a partcular situation (Halonen & Santrock, 1996; Plotnik,1996).

In other words, a person’s behavior depends on what he expects the outcome to any particular action to be and what those outcomes are worth. The likelihood that someone will be aggressive when trying to return a merchandise to a department store would depend then, on that person’s expectation about whether or not aggression will work (Hilgard et al, 1983).

The paper attempts to scrutinize the validity of Bandura and Rotter’s theory based on several criteria which shall be discussed as follows.

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Discussion To satisfy further one’s curiosity about this theory, the theory will be determined by the following: Freedom or Determinism: can a person control their own behavior or is it determined by internal or external forces? In Bandura’s and rotter’s viewpoint, human motives (Halonen & Santrock, 1996; Hurlock, 1964; Atkinson et al. , 1993). With this premise, the theory is basically leaning toward the philosophical idea of freedom.

Man is free to chart his course and how he is supposed to fulfill his various needs; i.

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e. his physiological dimension. In addition, the manner with which he carves himself in a particular niche that satisfies his psychological domains is also based on his own volition. There is no flavor of unconscious thoughts pervading motivation like when the idea of psychological instincts being interpreted within Maslow’s understanding; in contrast to this notion, any individual can basically control their own behavior.

This theory believes on the capacities of human nature to achieve what man wants to achieve rather than be held captive by forces within him or in his external world; it is the internal determinants such as we may choose skills to lie dormant or latent (Papalia et al. , 2002; Halonen & Santrock, 1996). For example, i may not imitate aggressive behavior unless i am provoked or/and believe that I am more likely to be rewarded by it than punished for it.

Hereditary or Environmental: are the characteristics a person has inherited and inborn or is it developed by social influences? Since the premise of this theory hinges on freedom, a person’s characteristics therefore are developed by social influences. According to Bandura and later by personality theorist Rotter, Observational Learning, accounts for most human learning. It occurs when, as children, in my case for isntance, I observe my parents cook, clean, or repair a broken appliance.

Biology or heritability is deemphasized, rather the value of being introduced on a particular aspect or several aspects of human experience is basis or the basis for the development of human characteristics. There is evidence that observational learning for simple “single action” tasks, such as opening the halves of a toy barrel to look at a barrel inside, occurs as early as one year (Halonen & Santrock, 1996). Uniqueness or Universality: individuals are unique or people are all pretty much the same

This theory eventually emphasizes individuality or uniqueness, as it fundamentally illustrates in its assertion that every one has the capability for breakthroughs in circumstances which may be difficult. Man is also capable to learn and communicate about himself and others (Halonen & Santrock, 1996). Observational learning is not mechanically acquired through reinforcement. We can learn by observation without engaging in overt responses at all. It appears sufficient to pay attention to the behavior of others.

Proactive or Reactive: individuals act on their own initiative or just in reaction to external stimuli? Since man is free, unique and has the possibilities to accomplish whatever he is set to do, it is also asserted that man is proactive: he can choose how to respond in any situation and may even extend himself to advance his interests, both positive and negative at whatever goal or in whatever circumstance he may be in (Halonen & Santrock, 1996; Atkinson et al. , 1993). Optimistic or Pessimistic: individuals can change given the right environment or they are unchangeable?

The theory overall is hopeful and positive in every essence. Individuals then have all the chances to make their lives fulfilling, impact others on virtues of honesty, charity and generosity, if and when he determines himself to be one. Likewise, he can also influence and negatively affect those that surround him when he chooses to do so. In this perspective then, an individual has high hopes of changing his attitudes and disposition, as well as his physical arrangements in life (Atkinson et al. , 1993; Halonen & Santrock, 1996). Part II. Evaluation of the theory

Evaluate the theory by thinking about some of the following questions: If this theory is to be evaluated, the strength of these assumptions lies in the recognition of the positives that humans possess. It reminds the audience of the person as a whole being and not just an organism subject to either what the psychoanalysts termed as instincts or fundamental behaviorists’ position as merely organismic (Halonen & Santrock, 1996).

  1. Is it coherent? Clear, logical, consistent? What makes this theory very attractive even today is that it is quite credible. The studies on child violence or aggression due to television exposure clearly point to the assumptions held by Bandura and Rotter. There is clarity, coherence and logical arrangements of concepts leading to a redible theory.
  2. Is it useful and relevant to your own life and view of reality It has proven useful and relevant and even true to my experience of life and view of reality. The fact that many of my characteristics and nuances today are reflective of the distinct traits that i have observed from my parents are proof to this.
  3. Is it comprehensive and deep? It is deep and comprehensive enough to show the basics of human interactions and decision makings mostly undertaken by humans.
  4.  Is it compelling enough to convince you? It is compelling enough to convince me; observational or vicarious learning repeatedly comes into the fore where learning such as “hands on” experience has been part and parcel of traditional methods of teaching and isntruction.
  5. Is it verifiable? Has it been proved? Can you prove it? It is indeed verifiable as studies were repeatedly made to replicate the fundamental assumptions of the theory. The modeling assumptions that are interpreted today in various television ads are evidence enough to show its credibility.
  6. Can you use it to predict human nature? Yes, definitely. Such as when children are exposed to pornography and violence at a very tender age and onwards on a consistence basis, no matter what critics say, there is ample evidence that the consequences are indeed dire and wasteful.


  1. Atkinson, R. L. , R. C. Atkinson, E. E. Smith, D. J. Bem, and S. Nolen-Hoeksema (1993). Introduction to psychology. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace and Company.
  2. Halonen, J. S. and J. W. Santrock (1996). Psychology: Contexts of behavior, Dubuque, IA: Brown and Benchmark, p. 810.
  3. Hilgard, E. R. , R. R. Atkinson, and R. C. Atkinson, (1979)1983. Introduction to psychology. 7th ed. New York: Harcourt brace Jovanich, Inc.
  4. Hurlock, E. B. (1964). Child Development. New York: Mc Graw-Hill Book Company.
  5. Papalia, Diane E. , S. W. Olds. , RD Feldman (2002). Human Development. 8th Ed. , International Edition. McGraw-Hill.
  6. Plotnik, R. (1996). Introduction to psychology. 4th ed. Pacific Grove, California 93950: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Cite this page

Albert Bandura and Julian Rotter. (2016, Oct 24). Retrieved from

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