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Sports Psychology – Models and Theories

4. Learning by Observing and Imagining

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the role of observational learning in sport. We begin by examining the origins of Social Learning Theory in the research of Albert Bandura, focussing in particular on his ‘Bobo doll’ experiments from the 1960s. We then consider how the principle of learning by observing can be applied to sport performance. Specifically, we discuss two experimental research studies which suggest that training the gaze behaviour of learners has a positive impact on the rate at which their performance improves. Finally, we explore some recent research into the relationship between mental imaging and increased sport performance.


In this course, Dr Dan Bishop (Brunel University London) discusses a range of topics in Sports and Exercise Psychology. In module one we think about how anxiety impacts sport performance before moving on, in module two, to look at the relationship between exercise and mental health. Throughout the remaining modules we then explore a variety of personality and individual differences attributes, including reinvestment and its impact on decision-making in module three, learning by observing and imagining in module four and different psychological models of the athlete personality in module five.


Dr Dan Bishop is a Researcher and Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology at Brunel University London, a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Psychologist registered to practise with the HCPC, an Associate Fellow of the BPS, and a Fellow of Advance HE.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bishop, D. (2019, November 18). Sports Psychology – Models and Theories - Learning by Observing and Imagining [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bishop, D. "Sports Psychology – Models and Theories – Learning by Observing and Imagining." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2019,

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