Monkey See…Monkey Do…or Do We?

            Bandura’s Observational Learning concept is brilliant. When we look at Bandura’s observational of learning and how it’s influenced, we see four variables. There is the Attentional processes, which determines what we can and do attend to. We have The Retentional processes, which this tells us how we remember what we saw. We have The Motor reproduction processes, this tells us how we act out what we remember seeing. Lastly, we have The Motivational processes, which determine the circumstances under which learning is translated into performance. (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2007, p. 355).

             Why might these learning concepts be important to consider with the content of television programs, the internet, films, video games and the various forms of “new media?” Well, here are some facts which I researched to show exactly how important this impact has on someone’s life. The main focus on my research was the influence of media to adolescents. Recent studies have shown violent media exposed to adolescents who engage in the act of acting out aggressive behavior in a video game leads to aggression after the game completed. Adolescents who actively engage in violent video games show more signs of aggression than if they did not engage in violent video games. Reinforcement is not dependent on learning. I happen to disagree with this. People will often learn more and retain more information and even act our behavior more if there is a positive reinforcement associated with it.Some people use aggression as a form of gaining a reward for their behavior. When a person imitates a certain behavior of aggression and they get rewarded for it, chances are they will continue that behavior to gain the reward again. Take terrorists for example, when they threaten us, we (the media) “reward” them by giving them highly publicized awareness of them. “Television programs, acts of assault have outnumbered affectionate acts four to nine” (Myers, 2010, p. 377). This is due in partly because children do what they see and learn.

            My question is…if all of this is true (which I believe it to be based on my research) then how do we explain the shootings at Columbine High school? These kids who did this mass murdering came from a very well established home. Yet, “on April 20, 1999, during which they killed 13 people and injured more than 20. With a geophysicist for a father and a mother who worked with the disabled. His family was upper middle class; his father had a successful mortgage business.”(A&E Television, 2000)

A&E Television, Initials. (2000). Crime files. Retrieved from
Hergenhahn, B.R., & Olson, M.H. (2007). Theories of Personality (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Until Next Time,
Much Love,