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Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925 in the small town of Mundare in the Canadian providence of Alberta. He had little access to formal education through out his youth. The small school Albert Bandura attended had only two teachers for the upper grades, and students were left to take care of their own education to a large extent. After finishing high school, Albert attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Albert Bandura also attended the University of Iowa where he completed his MA in 1951, and his Ph.D in 1952 in clinical psychology. After finishing his graduate studies, Albert Bandura was hired at Stanford University where he continues to teach and work today. In addition to his duties as a professor, Albert Bandura has served as the president of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous awards for his work. Some of the most prestigious include: the William James Award and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association.
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Albert Bandura was one of the first psychologists to develop and write about cognitivism out of the belief that behaviorism theory did not account for the complexities of human behavior and motivation. He believed that the environment, human behavior, and psychological processes interacted together to determine human behavior and motivation; a theory can be referred to as reciprocal determinism.
Albert Bandura’s research has covered a wide range of topics. His first area of research after arriving at Stanford University involved the study of social learning and aggression. These studies led to the writings Social Learning and Personality Development in 1963 and Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis in 1973. The data from this research led Bandura to believe that social modeling can generate new behavior patterns and that “modeling influences can promote creativeness by exemplifying diversity for novel syntheses and fresh perspectives that weaken conventional mind sets.” Bandura compiled these hypotheses into to the highly influential book for the field of psychology throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Social Learning Theory, published in 1977.
Please enjoy this video on the Bobo Doll Experiment
Another prominent theory proposed by Bandura is the theory of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the ability of an individual to believe that he or she is capable of performing certain tasks and employing self-regulatory practices. Mastery of tasks supports growth towards high self-efficacy. Self-efficacy influences four main processes, cognitive, motivational, affective, and selection process. The cognitive processes includes one’s conception of ability, social comparison of influences, framing of feedback, perceived controllability, and causal structure. Motivational processes are comprised of causal attribution, outcome expectancies, and cognized goals. Affective processes consists of thought control efficacy, coping efficacy and achievement anxiety, and self-efficacy and depression. People with positive self-efficacy have high levels of motivation, set high goals, persist in the face of difficulty, and achieve greater academic accomplishments. People with high efficacy experience less anxiety and stress when approaching a complex task. Developing self-efficacy gives one a sense of control over life and the world. People who believe that they have control over their lives function on a high level in school and in life. There is sufficient research to support the relationship between student’s academic self-efficacy beliefs and their academic achievement and attainment.
There is research that suggests that although boys and girls perform at the same academic level, girls report higher efficacy in education, social, and health services while boys report higher efficacy in science and technology. A child’s view of self-efficacy as it relates to different academic areas has a large influence on what field is chosen for a career. Career choice is frequently determined by perceived efficacy weakness and social expectations in the areas of math and science for women rather than in regard to background preparation. Gender bias in regard to math and science comes from parents, teachers, and society. Children begin to form career aspirations very early in life, and many times these dreams are shaped by societal expectations.
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Bandura’s current areas of research involve: the power of psychological modeling, human beings’ ability to exercise influence over their motivation and behavior, the perception of self-efficacy and its relation to control over life events, and the cause of stress reactions and depression. Below is a link to Bandura's writing on moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities.
Here is a link to a recent paper by Bandura on moral disengagement
Albert Bandura has been a prolific researcher and writer, please see the link for a full list of his published works
This is a full list of published works for Albert Bandura
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Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning.
Educational Psychologist, 28
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
Bandura, A. & Barbaranelli, C. (2001). Self-efficacy as shapers of children’s aspirations and career trajectories.
Child Development, 72
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Pajares, F. (2004). Albert Bandura: Biological sketch. Retrieved from
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