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5. Social Learning Theory

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In this module, we explore the impact of social learning theory on the psychology of gender, focusing in particular on: (i) the history of social learning theory, especially the work of Albert Bandura and the Bobo doll experiments (1961-63); (ii) the extent to which social learning theory can help explain the gendered activity violence (which is predominantly enacted by men); (iii) the links (if any) between watching pornography and enacting violence against women; (iv) the links (if any) between reading ‘lads mags’ and the development of misogynistic attitudes; and (v) the extent to which gender might be conceived differently in different sorts of societies.


In this course, Professor Peter Hegarty (University of Surrey) explores the psychology of gender. In the first module, we think about different ways of measuring one’s psychological gender, focusing in particular on the most widely-used system, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BRSI). After that, we think about the history of sex and gender as distinct concepts, before turning in the following three modules to consider how three psychological theories have intersected with the psychology of gender – cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and social learning theory. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the extent to which the psychology of gender has accommodated the experience of those who identify as transgender or nonbinary, and how the psychology of gender might evolve in the future.


Peter Hegarty is Professor of Psychology at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on the intersection of social psychology, history, and gender and sexuality studies. His two sole-authored books on the history of psychology are about early twentieth-century entanglements between sexology, intelligence testing, and masculinity, and psychology’s more recent relationships with lesbian and gay movements.

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APA style

Hegarty, P. (2021, January 07). Gender - Social Learning Theory [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hegarty, Peter. "Gender – Social Learning Theory." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2021,

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