The term role model was brought into common usage by American sociologist Robert K. Merton, known for his studies of the sociology of science and the interplay between science and its social, religious, and cultural environments. The term was first applied to a 1960s study of the socialization of medical students and is now widely used to conceptualize how individuals influence the social behaviors of others. This entry describes the purpose of role models, their impacts and effects, and implications for science and technology communication.

Role Model Characteristics

Several definitions of the role model exist. One views the role model as a teacher, possessing skills that can be taught by demonstration and learned through observation by another person, also known as the modeler. Another describes role ...

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