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Chapter 9
Theories of Personality





According to Bandura, human behavior is due to a triadic reciprocal causation that involves behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors

All three factors operate as interlocking determinants of one another.







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Figure 9.1




Bandura believed that most human behavior is learned through the process of observational learning, by following a model.

Three factors influence modeling according to Bandura:

Characteristic of the model affect learning through observation: (we are more likely to be influenced by someone who we believe is similar to ourselves than by someone who is different.

Attributes of the observer also influence modeling: (people who are lacking in self-esteem or who are incompetent are especially prone to follow the structure and style of a model.

Reward consequences associated with the behavior influence the effectiveness of modeling: (participants are more likely to emulate a behavior if they believe that such actions will lead to positive short-or long term results.


Bandura describes four processes that enter into observational learning.

Attentional processes (enough interest to pay attention)

Retention process (remembering what to do)

Motor Reproduction process (ability to carry out imitated behavior)

Motivational process (acquisition versus performance: people do not act out everything they learn. Most of us have the theoretical "know-how" to rob a store. We may have seen robberies in real life or on television, however, this does not mean that we will go out and do it.

We are more likely to engage in modeling behavior if it leads to consequences that we value and less likely to engage in it if the results are punitive.



Bandura suggests that almost any behavior can be learned by an individual without direct reinforcement.


However, reinforcement serves as an incentive, a facilitator of behavior. The individuals anticipation of a reward or punishment influences how he or she behaves.

There are several types of rewards of reinforcements. Three types are:

(which is longer lasting)

Extrinsic Reinforcement (A grade in a class, a medal, a diploma)

Intrinsic Reinforcement (Inner satisfaction, personal gratification, how we feel about something, learning simply for the sake of learning. Not interested in a grade.

Vicarious Reinforcement (Learning from the success or failure of others)




Bandura studied the impact of live modeling (Bobo the doll) as opposed to a filmed or cartoon modeling.

The aggression developed from watching film was just as effective in teaching aggressive forms of behavior as live modeling.

Watching aggression in cartoon character was somewhat less influential but nevertheless successful.

In each study, children who observed an aggressive model (live, film, or cartoon) performed more aggressive responses than did children who observed a non-aggressive model or no model at all.

Bandura concluded that frequent exposure to aggression and violence on television encourages children to behave aggressively and he has been very concern about the aggressive models our culture provide.


Two other concepts Bandura explored that we will not go into detail are:

Self -Efficacy: (peoples belief that they can successfully perform behaviors that will produce desired effects)

Behavior Modification: (a form of therapy that applies the principles of learning to achieve changes in behavior).



Rotter is most noted for the development of the I-E Scale.

The I-E Scale is an assessment tool that measures an individuals perception of locus of control.

After measuring an individuals perception of locus of control, the therapists, is then able to determining whether one has Internal or External tendencies (See Chart on the following page).








Print chart

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The I-E Scale has been widely used in research and has led to a number of significant findings.

  • Internality increase with age
  • Internals are more perceptive and ready to learn about surroundings
  • They ask more questions and process information more efficiently
  • Externals are more likely to conform and prefer not to have to make choices
  • Externals tend to be more anxious and depressed, as well as more vulnerable to stress.

Some research has shown sex differences, with females tending to be more external than males.



Utilizing empirical observation, Rotter developed a concept that suggests four variables can be measured to enable us to predict a persons behavior in a given situation. These four variables are:

Behavioral potential (refers to the likelihood that a particular behavior will occur in a given situation.

Expectancy (refers to individuals subjective expectations about the outcome of their behavior.

Reinforcement value (refers to the importance or preference of a particular reinforcement for an individual.

Psychological situation (refers to the psychological context in which the individual responds.

By asking an individual a series of questions concerning these four variables, noting, and ranking their answers, behavior potential can be measured.



In Clinical settings, Rotter suggests that maladjusted individuals are characterized by low freedom of movement and high need value.

Freedom of movement (refers to a persons expectation that a particular set of responses will lead to a desired reinforcement).

Need value (refers to the importance attached to goals)

Individuals who are adjusted have a high freedom of movement and realistic goal levels. Maladjusted individuals believe that they are unable to get the gratification they desire through their own efforts.

Problem behaviors, such as substance abuse and delinquency, have been shown to be associated with a discrepancy between an individuals need values and for recognition and his or her freedom of movement for getting it.



Rotters position represent a significant departure from B.F. Skinners radical behaviorism but retains the important emphasis on a strict methodology and the classical features of the learning tradition.

Rotterss theory has been criticized for its lack of depth and for the fact that it takes few risks in hypothesizing and does little more than summarize existing, generally well-known knowledge.








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