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Social Cognitive Theory

Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) draws from social learning theory and claims that an individual can acquire knowledge from observing others within the context of social interactions or from the media. In other words, people learn new behaviors not only by trying those behaviors and either succeeding or failing but also by replicating the actions of others. Depending on whether people are rewarded or punished for a behavior, that behavior might be modeled and subsequently performed.

SCT departs from previous theories that advocated a unidirectional causation of behavior and argues that three factors play a role and influence each other: (1) the external environment, (2) behavior, and (3) personal factors such as cognitive/biological/other personal factors (e.g., IQ, sex, and race/ethnicity). For example, each observed behavior ...

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