Observational Learning (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 Alright let's take a look at observational learning.

    00:03 Observational learning is also known as social learning or vicarious learning.

    00:08 You should definitely know the later term vicarious learning. Coz’ that’s the most probably come up.

    00:11 Modeling is when an observer sees a behavior being performed by another and imitates it.

    00:17 And it’s unique because the degree of modeling is actually shaped by the success of the behavior and the type of reinforcement.

    00:23 If the behavior is found upon and they get punish in some way, they might not model as much as supposed to.

    00:31 If they see a behavior and that behavior is reinforced positively, then they will continue that behavior.

    00:38 Modeling will even occur if the outcome of the behavior is actually unknown.

    00:43 So, there’s lot of different factors controlling, whether or not you model.

    00:47 Now, there’s really cool experiments that were done quite some time ago by Albert Bandura.

    00:52 And these look at the impact of modeling on behavior.

    00:57 So fairly simplistic model by Today’s standards in terms of experimentation.

    01:01 But the points that use was able to determine were really interesting.

    01:05 So what he did was he showed little children a video looking at serve adult violent theme.

    01:13 So movie was rather was fighting or they even would watch videos of their parents arguing or they would actually watch parents arguing.

    01:23 And these different scenarios, the point is they engage watching something shows violent behavior.

    01:31 And then, they were allowed to go in a room and play. In there, they have different toys.

    01:36 They have this Bobo doll.

    01:37 I think you may have seen this before is that toy you’ve blow up and you punch it in the face.

    01:42 And it comes were bouncing back for more of the bidding.

    01:44 And so they had this toy and the potential toy’s that they could play with.

    01:48 And the kids that were playing with the Bobo doll, got pretty violent with our poor little friend Bobo after watching, eithre their parents fighting or violent videos with violent content.

    01:59 And so, they model that behavior of watching their parents arguing, and they went out, and they went in.

    02:06 They emulated this behavior.

    02:07 And in certain situations, when they look at even more fine tunely in these scenarios where a perceived weapon was used, the children actually took a little plastic camera and also were playing in that behavior.

    02:20 So essentially, they were modeling what they saw.

    02:22 Now, there’s another thing that we want to consider, another aspect in terms of looking on observational learning and thats physiological concept, something we see in biology.

    02:33 And that’s the presence of these things called mirror neurons.

    02:36 And they’re found in several brain regions including the premotor cortex, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.

    02:44 So in all of these structures, you have these mirror neurons.

    02:47 And what they actually do is neurons fire when a task is performed and/or when that same task is observed.

    02:54 So they’re actually firing when they’re not are actually doing the tasks.

    03:00 But they’re watching the task.

    03:01 And is believed that these dual firing of actually observing the task or doing the task herself reinforces that behavior.

    03:10 Observational learning actually happening biologically speaking.

    03:13 So this process of mirror neurons firing and the process of actual modeling is thought to help understand the action of others and help us learn through imitation.

    03:22 So as we imitate, it’s strengthen with the firing of these mirror neurons.

    03:26 So mirror neurons also might be involve with helping us understand vicarious emotions such as empathy.

    03:31 And that empathy revolves run as seeing somebody in need or crying or hurt.

    03:36 And we tend to feel that same emotion. If they are crying, we might cry.

    03:41 And if they’re laughing, we tend to smile and laugh as well so that empathetic emotion that were displaying might be actually a vicarious emotion run through this copying or imitation or firing of the mirror neurons.

    03:55 Despite modeling and imitating, we still see individual differences in learning and behavior.

    03:59 So, it’s not that these mirror neurons or as modeling is going to allow as to carbon copy exactly what we see.

    04:06 It’s definitely one component that might initiate the process but they’re other factors that are involved.

    04:10 So, we also know that, personality differences and psychological disorders can impact our ability to learn through modeling.

    04:19 So these are all aspects are supporting the idea that isn’t just copying and imitating.

    04:26 It’s definitely something that allows to initiate the process.

    04:29 So I think of young children watching their parents.

    04:32 So if young children watch their parents, preparing dinner, cut a meal or acting a certain way or overtly nice all the time or they are actually quite hostile or how they engage with others.

    04:44 They would initiate by perhaps modeling that behavior but every child we all know is not identical in terms of behavior to their parents.

    04:53 So part of it might be initiated through observational learning and modeling but ultimately, their personal and individual differences will input that.

    05:00 So we say that cognition and environment can have a direct impact in our ability to learn.

    05:05 So cognitively speaking, how are you? And what environment are you placed in? Then this will shape your ability to learn and will also contribute to the modeling process.

    05:18 Now, I put forward this question, you know if you watch a horror movie do you want becoming a killer? Well the answer is no.

    05:23 Coz’ you’re not gonna automatically model what you saw, and go out and kill somebody.

    05:27 This is where cognition and environment, they take a role.

    05:31 An individual understanding of what you’re watching. Right.

    05:34 So, do violent games make kids more violent? That’s another question I put for.

    05:39 And this is a constant debate that individuals have.

    05:41 And in terms of understanding personality, and behavior and social norms, I would say the general consense right now is that video games don’t make somebody kill somebody else.

    05:53 So video games might not exclusively make you violent but we have seen that video games have further personality traits in behaviors leaning towards the violent nature.

    06:04 So more violent tendencies are seen when children then are playing, you know, more and more video games.

    06:09 So if you think of 20, 30, 40 years ago, or video games didn’t really exist in the fashion that they do today, there’s a lot more one on one personal engagement with playing on the social setting that is been removed.

    06:19 Some of the violence that we see aligns with the type of video games and the individuals are playing at least little kids are playing.

    06:25 So one on one combat games or games or let’s say a third person narrative you’re walking through a maze with a gun trying to kill the bad guy, this type of mentality and these types of games we can see some analogies to what we’re saying in terms of violence.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Observational Learning (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Attitude and Behavior Change.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Observational learning
    2. Insight learning
    3. Passive learning
    4. Associative learning
    5. Habituation
    1. Modeling
    2. Posing
    3. Learning
    4. Mimicry
    5. Shaming
    1. Albert Bandura
    2. George Mead
    3. Alfred Binet
    4. Philip Zimbardo
    5. Charles Spearman
    1. Premotor cortex
    2. Superior parietal cortex
    3. Wernicke's area
    4. Ventral posterolateral nucleus (VPL)
    5. Thalamus
    1. Empathy
    2. Pity
    3. Complex emotion
    4. Fear
    5. Grief

    Author of lecture Observational Learning (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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