According to Powell (2009) et al. “Bandura is well known for his studies on aggression, and he is particularly famous for what are now known as the “Bobo doll studies” (p. 471). The experiment involved young children who were to view adult models acting aggressively toward a Bobo doll (a large inflatable doll “that pops back up when pushed”) (Powell et al., 2009, p. 471). These same children were set in a room with a Bobo doll to see if they too would follow the adult model’s actions and act aggressively toward the Bobo doll (Powell et al., 2009, p. 471). Powell et al. (2009) confirms that the “research involved various types of models, various forms of demonstrated aggression, and children of varying ages. In these studies, Bandura found some striking evidence concerning the social learning of aggression” (p. 472).
Once he examined the results, Bandura found that the children who witnessed the adults acting aggressively copied this behavior and essentially “replicated the same behaviors” as the adults (Powell et al., 2009. P. 472). Powell et al. (2009) asserts, “The children in Bandura’s studies were very precise in some of their aggressive behavior, performing many of the same motor movements toward the same targets, using the same weapons, and uttering the same hostile statements” (p. 472). Powell et al. (2009) goes on to explain that the children’s aggression increased when they saw the aggressive adult’s behavior being reinforced; while as the children who witnessed an aggressive adult being punished for being aggressive were still aggressive, but less so than those who witnessed the reinforcement (p.472). Experimenters then gave incentive to those children who witnessed aggressive adults being punished, and then those very same children became even more aggressive (Powell et al., 2009, p. 472).
I find this experiment very interesting. I have heard on the news a countless number of times that video games and violent television are influencing the youth to act out and create crimes. Although I really do not believe that a video game can cause a person to go out and murder, I do believe -- because of this study and others like it – that witnessing violent acts could create aggression in people that may not have been there if they had not viewed violence. Again, I am not saying violent television creates homicidal maniacs, but maybe it does create aggression. What do all of you think?
Below is a video of the Bandura experiment:
Also, here is a commercial that promotes the idea “children see, children do.” I thought it was pretty interesting to watch.