Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bandura's experiment with a BoBo doll involved children observing a person acting aggressive to a blow up BoBo doll. When it was the children's turn to "play" with the BoBo doll, the children imitated the same movements toward the same targets and also said the same angry statements that they observed. The aggression was stronger if the child observed reinforcement of the actor's violent behavior while the children who observed the actor being "punished" for being violent were less likely to show aggression.  
            In the text Introduction to Learning and Behavior, Powell and colleagues (2013) describe how Bandura's experiment showed that people learn socially through observation. Observations can be direct through actions of their families or within their communities, but also through television and video games.
            Children's exposure to violence has drastically changed since television and other technology has become accessible. Children are exposed to more and more types of violence at younger ages. Television and video games have also become more and more graphic. For example, Powell et al. (2013) describe how in the 1980's, Pac-Man concerned parents because the video game involved eating other characters where as recent video games, such as Grand Theft Auto, depict murder, rape, and theft and other violent criminal behaviors in detail. Even games involving warfare are incredible detailed with weapons and injuries.
            In my opinion, I feel young children need to be censored from such graphic violence, since young children have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality and are more observant and imitating in their behaviors. Just as a child might imitate and observe the good qualities of their environment, such as "I want to be a firefighter just like daddy" or "I love to read like mommy," etc., children also observe and imitate the poor behaviors they observe. For example, my friend's niece would screamed "JERSEY SHORE, B*TCHES" because she observed an episode of the MTV show with a cast member saying that phrase. The same can be said about violence. As people age, they develop the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. People are able to think critically and have started to develop a stronger sense on ethics and morals. For example, most children think in terms of punishment and consequences instead of the intentions or what is morally "right." In the same breath, I feel violence can be attributed to many other factors other than just media. There are children who are exposed to violence, whether in their family or media, who do not grow up to become violent people or exhibit aggressive behaviors as a child.


Powell, R. A., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Australia: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.


  1. I feel like the reason our younger generations are becoming so terrible is due to all the observing being done. When I was younger I barely watched tv and was sent outside to play. There were no bad video games and my shows I watched were monitored. Today it is more likely for a kid to come to a restaurant with an Ipad than without to watch movies. This generation is able to watch and be involved in so much more of the world due to technology. This technology allows them to witness more violence and trashy entertainment, In return we are getting a generation that is more violent.

  2. Jamie,
    I agree. The content of television shows and video games has become more graphic and violent. Growing up, my mom was very careful about limiting our television time and only allowing us to watch certain shows. She also never let us play with toy guns or violent video games until we were older, not that I had much interest to anyway... We also spent a lot of time playing outside or with toys instead of technology. There was not nearly as much technology accessibly to children as there is today but even when my family got a computer, our time was limited and monitored until we were more mature.

    Thank you for your comment.

  3. I couldn't have said it any better. I agree completely. Being an upcoming elementary teacher I witness this all day. The things that sometimes come out of their mouths I have no words to even correct them. Your example of your niece saying that is completely accurate today, kids think that, that's the " cool thing". I don't understand, blows my mind.