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Cognitive behavior is a psychological conditioning that arises from the environmental stimuli. This means that a stimulus from the environment will cause a unique and particular behavior or response. As a result, the affected person might get used to such environmental stimulus or stimuli so that its sequential repetition causes one’s similar behavior. This research paper profoundly examines a learning outcome and a radical behaviorist approach to achieving that outcome. It examines the ways in which the approach to the selected learning outcome clearly aligns with the radical behaviorist view. The study further offers a critique of this approach through the application of Piaget and his successors as well as through the lens of interactional theories of cognitive development. Finally, it discusses a modified approach to the achievement of the desired learning outcome, based on the two abovementioned criticisms, before conclusion.

A Learning Outcome and a Radical Behaviorist Approach to Achieving that Outcome

Behaviorists, such as Albert Bandura, used theoretical models to explain the differences in people’s behavior in particular environments. In his theory of behavior modeling, he anticipated that one’s pattern of responding is acquired in learning through modeling. This theory leans on scientific findings and deep research to prove its basis of argument. Bandura’s theory links the cognitive and behaviorist theories of learning through incorporation of memory, motivation and attention. Varied dimensions are reflected to address this fragile period that influences later acquisition of learning. Predominant childhood learning needs are effectively addressed in this paper in view of Albert Bandura’s modeling theory. According to it, children as well as adults in general learn through observation of the attitudes and patterns of behavior of other people (Delores, 1998). The information that is learned is therefore coded in individuals and forms, a rich ground through which new behaviors are formulated and practiced.  

Modeling Approach

The modeling approach, coined by Albert Bandura, is one of the radical behaviorist approaches used in explaining a learning outcome. It is a product of interaction between the environmental, behavioral and cognitive influences. This theory explains childhood learning as dependent on the observations, made from the surroundings. This theory attributes learning to be largely a product of nurture as opposed to nature. The nurture influence, according to psychologist, is leading in children’s cognitive, social and moral growth (Bandura, 1977). Albert Bandura’s theory, however, digs deeper than the behaviorism theory in relation to nurture factor. Bandura’s theory is based on ‘reciprocal determinism’, which pushes this theory a notch higher than the behaviorism theory.

Albert Bandura carried out several studies in an attempt to explain modeling. The most outstanding study in his efforts to build the mental pictures to psychologist about modeling concept was ‘the bobo doll studies’ (Bandura, 1977). Bandura, in this experiment, made a film in which one of his students was beating up a doll. A bobo doll is a balloon that is inflatable and egg shaped. The balloon has a weight at its base that makes it regain its upright posture anytime it is knocked down. The student, a young lady, was filmed punching, kicking and hitting the bobo doll with a hammer as she shouted ‘sockeroo’ aggressive phrases (Bandura, 1977).

How the Approach to the Selected Learning Outcome Clearly Aligns with the Radical Behaviorist Approach.

Albert Bandura’s modeling theory is also commonly referred to as the social learning theory. Most scholars have considered this theory to be a bridge connecting the theories of cognitive learning to those of behaviorists. This theory has filled the middle gap since it encompasses memory, motivation and attention. The bridging aspect has rendered it very practical in addressing real learning needs on the ground (Akers, 1977). In addition, it makes a great emphasis on the variables which are measurable, observable and can as well be manipulated. The practical applications of this theory can largely be attributed to the studies involving the concept. For instance, after the kindergarten children were taught to learn through modeling, several variations were done on the experiment to ascertain other aspects of the study. Albert did several variations on the study to help reveal several factors that influence modeling.

All the variations in the studies enabled Bandura to institute that there were several steps involved in the modeling process. In order to relate this concept to its practical applicability, it is imperative that these steps are involved. Albert’s variations form the basis of learning and are thus critical elements that should be considered in the learning process which involves multiple key stages. Albert did a number of variations in his study to assert this theory (Bandura, 1977). He either rewarded or punished the subjects of his study in a number of ways, for example the kids were rewarded for the imitations or at some points the model was changed to be less prestigious or attractive.

Critique of this Approach through the Application of Piaget and His Successors

According to Albert, attention is significant if any learning is to take place. Likewise, anything that distracts attention blocks or distracts learning. However, Piaget argued that the usual course of development and improvement of intellectual systems is largely similar for all people. In reality, intellectuality varies significantly among different groups of people. For example, if one is being sleepy, sick, drugged, sick, groggy or nervous the learning process will be less effective. This is a replication of today’s classroom or learning environment scenarios and as a result, particular attention is put in the learners’ environment to make learning process take place smoothly, without many distractions (Akers, 1977). Nonetheless, the learning environment might not produce similar outcome. In attempts to emphasize learning in today’s learning institutions and environment in general, the models are made  to be more colorful, attractive or even dramatic to increase attention of the learners (Delores, 1998). These areas point out the direct applications of modeling theory. For instance, the effects that television has on children can be attributed exactly to this concept.

Critique this Approach through the Lens of Interactional Theories of Cognitive Development

While modeling approach shows the interaction between the environmental, behavioral and cognitive influences, lens of interactional theories of cognitive development implies that the learner has to translate the mental images into actual behavior (Akers, 1977). This entails practice that has been borrowed largely in today’s skill building and learning processes. For example, modeling theory postulates that simply being exposed to a behavior does not justify that learning has taken place. However, it is the practice of such behavior that makes learning a reality. The rationale is that cognitive psychology is an experimental approach to social and human conditioning. It involves the impact of sensory perceptions and memory in determining the person’s behavior (Freud & Hall, 2012). The perspective, therefore, looks at the coordination of various organs to produce an outcome or behavior.

Modified Approach to Achieving the Desired Learning Outcome Based on the Two Criticisms Above

Based on these criticisms, learning and subsequent cognitive behavior take place when individuals imitate or observe others’ ways of life. Following exposure to the model, there are four components or processes that are influenced or influence the learners’ behavior. The components are retention, attention, motivation and motor reproduction. Reciprocal determinism proposes that the world and the behavior of a person affect each other. Bandura considered personality formation to also engulf one’s behavior and psychological processes in addition to the environment.


To sum up, modeling theory advocates that people, especially the children, learn through observing the behaviors of others from their environment and the media. Studies have shown that violence on television causes violence in line with Albert Bandura’s thought. He postulated that individuals do not have inherent aggression, although they acquire it from their environment.

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