V is for Vicarious Learning

show me what to do;
you lead me with your actions —
world, you be care-full…


“…a vicarious learning event is defined as one in which new responses are acquired or the characteristics of existing response repertoires are modified as a function of observing the behavior or others and its reinforcing consequences, without the modeled responses being overtly performed by the viewer during the exposure period.”
Albert Bandura in his article Vicarious Processes: A Case of No-Trial Learning, 1965, in the journal Advances in Experimental Social Psychology


Vicarious learning, also known as observational learning, has to do with learning by watching someone else. However, the human mind and behavior are very complexed, and vicarious learning is just one of many ways we learn. Nonetheless, being aware that this type of learning exists can help us understand our actions better and help us modify mistaken actions we have taken.

Below is a video of a famous experiment done by Albert Bandura in the 1960s to study the effects of observation of aggressive behavior on children. Results of the study were that the children exposed to the aggressive behavior of an adult behaved aggressively after watching this adult. The study made Bandura a pioneer in the study of the effects of observed behavior and a model for future research on the topic. Prior to this study, popular thought was that observing aggression and its consequences would some how make someone less aggressive. Dr. Bandura led people to question this assumption and consider the possibility that behavior can be learned and repeated by simply watching. This study is called the Bobo Doll Experiment.


“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
-Charles R. Swindoll


Part of my personal effort, no matter how small or simple, to post more on psychology and/or mental health; and to raise awareness of the mind and decrease stigma of disorders and illnesses related to the mind. Additional posts in this series can be found by clicking on the badge below.

A2Z Psychology2

About Claudia

Hi!! My name is Claudia. Blogging is sort of a creative/therapeutic activity for me. I blog about being a wife, mother, student, caseworker, and simply being human through photography, words, music, and blog challenges. Mental illness has also been part of my life, so you'll sometimes find mental health and psychology in my posts. I've dealt with anxiety and depression most of my life. And my husband has bipolar disorder. My hope is that I may show readers that it is possible for people to live positive, productive lives despite mental illness, challenges, or frustrations. View all posts by Claudia

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