Understanding Human Behavior in A Developmental Context - Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

In chapter 1 there are several key theorists discussed for their contribution to understanding human behavior in a developmental context. No one theory can account for the diversity of development.

Erikson – Psychosocial
Piaget – Cognitive
Freud – Psychoanalytic
Pavlov /Watson/ Skinner – Behavioral
Bandura – Social Cognitive
Bowlby (Attachment) – Ethological Theory
Bronfenbrenner – Ecological Theory
Information Processing Approach
Choose minimum 2 (two) different approaches, briefly summarize the key ideas from each theory, and explain why and how these theoretical views compliment and contrast each other. Do not simply rehash the theory itself - you may need to look in other chapters as well for more information regarding each theoretical approach to development.

Include your thoughts as to which theoretical approaches seem to make the most sense to you when thinking about development from birth to death and how they contribute to developmental processes that you have learned about in Chapter 1.

Support your responses with peer reviewed research. If you are unfamiliar with collecting peer reviewed articles – see syllabus for resources available for help.

Sample Paper On Understanding Human Behavior in A Developmental Context

In my view, two theories stand out in identifying the different development phases that an individual has to go through in their life. These are the Psychoanalytic theory by Sigmund Freud and Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. The psychoanalysis theory of personality proposes that human behavior arises from the interactions of three main components in the mind of an individual (Funder, 2015). These components are Id, Ego, and Super-ego.

[blur] Psychoanalysis theory places a higher level of emphasis on the existence of unconscious conflicts which play the role of shaping personality and behavior which leads to individual development. Freud further explains that the personality of child undergoes different psychosexual stages which play an important role in their development. On each stage, a child is presented with conflicts of various biological drives or expectations in their social life. The child has to navigate through internal conflicts leading to mastery of each stage of development and leading to their full maturity (Cervone & Pervin, 2015).

[blur] Bandura’s Social Learning Theory is based on the idea that as human being we are driven towards connectedness, and much of what we learn happens through observation, imitation, and modeling.  Bandura posited that people often learn through observing others and they imitate that which they observe to their own life until they find out how to survive (Hays & Carver, 2014). In reference to development, Bandura’s theory is based on the idea that human beings are active information processors and the focus on understanding their relationship and the human behavior. The theory solely taps much of its development and execution on learnt traits and attributes that one encounter as they subjected in the environment and the society. At every stage, in our lives, we develop and grow to embody the ideals that have been influenced by us by our environment, culture and the people around us (Csikszentmihalyi & Rathunde, 2014). [/blur]

[blur] The two theories complement one another by accommodating the idea that development solely takes place in one’s mind. In the Bandura’s Social Learning Theory humans have been regarded to as information processors and much of what they copy shapes how they react in future (Bandura, 1969). In the psychoanalysis theory, the Id, Ego, and Super-ego are all part of the mind, and they also influence how one will develop by presenting possibilities on the right course of action and the expected playoff. In contrast, these two theories take two different sides (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). While the Bandura’s Social Learning Theory focuses on learned traits which are copied from other beings, the Psychoanalytic theory adopts a different approach noting that desire guides the conflicts in one's mind, and each tends to have their own desires (Wrzus & Roberts, 2016). [/blur]

[blur] In my view, the Psychoanalytic theory should be relied upon to explain how humans develop from childhood to adulthood since it explains how humans make decisions and it allows one to recognize some of the challenges that as humans we all go through such as deciding on different desires especially based on our emotions. Often, as human beings, we prefer to choose that which is of utmost importance to us allowing us to set a balance between different tendencies (Ewen, 2014). [/blur]


Bandura, A. (1969). Social-learning theory of identificatory processes. Handbook of socialization theory and research, 213, 262.

Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2015). Personality, Binder Ready Version: Theory and Research. John Wiley & Sons.

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Rathunde, K. (2014). The development of the person: An experiential perspective on the ontogenesis of psychological complexity. In Applications of Flow in Human Development and Education (pp. 7-79). Springer Netherlands.

Ewen, R. (2014). An introduction to theories of personality. Psychology Press.

Funder, D. C. (2015). The Personality Puzzle: Seventh International Student Edition. WW Norton & Company.

Hays, C., & Carver, L. J. (2014). Follow the liar: the effects of adult lies on children's honesty. Developmental Science, 17(6), 977-983.

Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2016). Theories of personality. Cengage Learning.

Wrzus, C., & Roberts, B. W. (2016). Processes of Personality Development in Adulthood The TESSERA Framework. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1088868316652279.

Understanding Human Behavior in A Developmental Context - Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

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