You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or sign in to view the full course.

Learning Theories

6. Social Learning Theory

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or sign in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Social Learning Theory as an alternative to the behaviourist approach to learning. We begin by discussing Albert Bandura’s concept of ‘vicarious reinforcement’ which describes a process in which we learn by observing others perform a certain behaviour and receive a reward. Next, we think about how Bandura’s famous ‘Bobo doll’ experiment investigated the mechanisms of vicarious reinforcement in children. We then discuss the four ‘mediational processes’ which, according to Bandura, influence whether vicarious reinforcement takes place: (i) attention, (ii) retention, (iii) reproduction and (iv) motivation. Finally, we think about identification as a factor in social learning and how it accounts for us modelling our behaviour not only on the people around us but also those who are not physically present in our environment, such as celebrities.


In this course, Mr Martyn Quigley (University of Nottingham) discusses some classic psychological theories of learning. We begin, in module one, by thinking about the research of Ivan Pavlov and his theory of classical conditioning as a form of associative learning. The second module takes a closer look at factors affecting classical conditioning, focussing in particular on the processes of extinction and generalisation. In module three, we move on to discuss operant or instrumental conditioning and the research of Edward Thorndike. In module four, we think about the mechanisms of reinforcement and punishment in operant conditioning, while module five takes a closer look at how the rate at which reinforcement occurs can influence learning. Module six concludes the course with a discussion of Social Learning Theory as an alternative to the behaviourist approach to learning.


Martyn Quigley is a Teaching Associate in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham. His research interests include the mechanisms which underpin learning in a whole manner of circumstances, and how these can be linked to applied settings (e.g. educational and medical settings). He is also interested in the philosophy of science and how this relates to psychology and the replication crisis.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Quigley, M. (2019, September 27). Learning Theories - Social Learning Theory [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Quigley, Martyn. "Learning Theories – Social Learning Theory." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures