The Bobo Doll Experiment

    If you don’t already know what the Bobo Doll Experiment is, it was an experiment done by Albert Bandura in 1961. He had tested 36 girls and 36 boys, trying to figure out if violence was a behavior that they learned from observation. All of the kids were between the ages of 3 and 6. He was trying to show modeling, and there were 3 different groups. One was an aggressive model, one was a non-aggressive model and the third group had no model, and that was the control group. Children were shown to individual rooms with their own toys and in that room with them, they watched either a male or female model that was behaving very aggressively towards a toy they called a “bobo doll” and while these adults attacked the doll, they were using a hammer in some cases, while others just threw the doll in the air making noises at it. 

    Children who had observed the aggressive model had made more imitative responses than those in the non-aggressive group or the control group. The girls in the aggressive model showed more physical aggression if the model was male but more verbal aggression if the model was female. Boys were more likely to imitate same sex-models than girls. Boys were more physically aggressive than girls and there was little difference between verbal aggression between genders. 


I do personally have a criticism of this experiment. Being violent with a doll, is a very different act than being violent with another human, the human being would be able to respond to pain, maybe explain why they shouldn’t be violent or aggressive towards them, there are just a lot of possibilities that a kid doesn’t understand about being violent or aggressive towards a doll that can not defend itself speak out against violence and aggression. It does not necessarily indicate if a child is going to be violent to humans in the future. The experiment does shed some light on good concepts though like girls behaving different based on the gender of the model they were watching, if it was another female they were more verbal but if the model was male they were more physically aggressive with the doll, it’s interesting and definitely sheds a light on the situation, but it is not a definitive predictor of aggressive behavior. I found this experiment really interesting because it focused on observational learning with modeling, which is how I typically learn a lot more, and to see how children are influenced by the actions of adults is definitely interesting.


Mcleod, S. (2023, June 14). Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment On Social Learning. Simply Psychology.


  1. This experiment has always been very intriguing to me, I think that it is a great model to understand the psychology behind aggression and how the level of aggression differs between male and female children. I really enjoyed your criticism to this experiment because it gave greater insight into how aggression might translate into later in life. I agree with you that since there is no reaction from the doll it is unlikely that the child understands the extent of the violent acts, meaning that they may not be that way towards and acual human who could respond.

  2. Hi Emily, I also wrote about the Bobo doll experiment. This experiment was an eye opener and something that I think is really interesting. Overall, I really liked your post


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