Bandura: The Bobo Beater

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As we learned today in discussion, Albert Bandura tested observational learning and reaction to the violence one of his experimenters displayed towards a Bobo clown doll. Not surprisingly, after throwing, kicking, and abusing with a mallet, the kids followed suit by beating up the doll in similar ways, as well as pretending to shoot the doll with a gun, stab it with a fake knife, and many other things. Also, the experimenters used words like 'pow' when they were beating up the poor Bobo doll, which also resulted in the children using words to describe the violent actions. One thing that I thought was particularly interesting about this study is that even the children that were put into rooms with other appealing toys (i.e. firetrucks, dolls, etc.) still chose to beat up the doll. To me, this makes me wonder if subconsciously we are violent, uncaring people that just want to be violent and claim our spot as the alpha of a group of people, or if as children we just mimic these actions that appeal to us, whether we think they are just cool to copy (like pretending to beat up baddies like Power Rangers). As one final point, I would like to say that IF by chance the Bobo doll were to come to life, it would most likely be violent towards the experimenters and children in return (i.e. Stephen King's IT...coincidence? I think not...)


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I thought this experiment was very interesting. It amazed me how the little girl started to beat the Bobo doll. She seemed so sweet. Yet after watching the adult beat the doll she thought it was normal to do. I also agree with you about how you thought it was interesting that even though the children were given the opportunity to play with normal toys they still choose to go towards the doll. It would be interesting if the researchers asked the children afterwards why they attacked the doll. I wonder what the children would have said. It amazes me how easily influenced children can be. Not even children but the general population, can be easily influenced to follow the crowd. Its a scary thought.

Good post, you bring up a lot of good points. I find it very interesting how much people rely on learning through imitation. It's a curious topic, and one can't help but wonder how a person would change their attitudes and beliefs if they were born into an alien planet and didn't have human and societal norms to reflect their behavior off of. For example, if they were born into an intentional community where nobody told lies, would they lie? Because it is a fundamental part of human society on earth.

This is an interesting post, and makes you think, cause from the video that they showed us in class it was hard to tell what really happened for sure in the experiment, because the clip was pretty short. The idea that the child is mimic- ing the experimenter is what I really agree with because had they not started beating the doll in front of the children I am not so sure the child would have been so reluctant to start beating it. Children are easily influenced so it makes me wonder what they would do had then been put in a different situation, where the experimenter didnt give them any clues as to how they should treat the doll.

In addressing your question of whether we're violent by nature, I agree. I don't think it's necessarily to become the alpha of the group but merely a way to compete with others, whether through intimidation or or actual strength in fighting. And while these kids did watch an adult demonstrate violent behavior toward Bobo, I believe that even without that demonstration, these observed children would eventually resort to kicking and hitting Bobo. This again ties back to your comment of being violent in nature, because even without watching someone do it beforehand, I would still hit or kick something for pure amusement. It's not necessarily sadistic in nature, but merely a way to compete and utilize aggression.

I really like your post. I myself found the video in lecture shocking. With your thought on being violent people or not, I would have to say that we are not violent, uncaring people that just want to be violent and claim our spot as the alpha of a group of people, I believe that like you said, we as children like to mimic what we see others doing. Its like learning right vs. wrong. If the child sees it being done by others they may think that its the norm until they are told that it is actually not the right thing to do and that it is bad and so forth. I have a daughter that is 2 and she learns everyday whats acceptable and what is not at home and at school, and she knows. Children are like sponges, monkey see, monkey do.

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This page contains a single entry by carte593 published on March 21, 2012 7:57 PM.

Are violent video games making our generation more violent? was the previous entry in this blog.

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