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Children and Agression (Essay Sample)

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Children and Aggression
The topic I have chosen to discuss is the role that media violence plays in propagating aggression in children, with reference to Bandura`s experiments. Bandura`s experiment was conducted to investigate whether social behavior can be acquired through imitation (Bandura, 1961). The study used a sample of 36 girls and 36 boys making 72 subjects from the University of Stanford Nursery School. The boys and girls were in the age bracket of 3 to 6 years. The role models included a female adult and a male adult.
In Bobo doll experiment, which was famous and influential, Albert Bandura and colleagues revealed a way through which aggression is learnt by the children. They further proposed that observation and interaction with individuals facilitates learning. Exposing children to two different adult models was involved in the experiment. The models included a non- aggressive model and an aggressive one. The children were placed in a room without the model after witnessing the adult behavior. They were observed to find out whether they would manifest the behavior they had witnessed in the models.
Bandura found that there was a difference in behavior between the children. Those exposed to the aggressive model showed physically aggressive acts as compared to those who were exposed to non-aggressive model. 38.2% and 12.7% were the numbers exhibited by the imitative boys on physical aggressions from the group which was exposed to the aggressive model (Hock, 2009). This proved Bandura`s prediction that same sex models influence children mostly.
The Bobo doll experiment result supported social learning theory of Bandura. There was a belief that experiments reveal the learning of specific behaviors through imitation and observation. Albert Bandura believed that the most important behavior modeling was through the aggression enforced by the family members (Bandura, 1976). He, indeed, believed that aggression explains three factors: first, how aggressive behavior patterns are developed; secondly, what proves people`s aggressive behavior, and lastly, the determinants whether on future occasions they will continue to show an aggressive behavior pattern. In 1965 Bandura conducted a follow-up study. He found that if the adult models were rewarded because of their actions, they were likely to imitate the behavior. If they saw the adult model being punished for the hostile behavior, they were less likely to imitate it.
The Bobo doll experiment had criticisms. These include; the laboratory setting was totally different from the real world situation, which was a hindering factor, selection bias might have resulted, and that the children were only being taught to be aggressive thus unethical. In my opinion, the tenets of this theory and its concepts are true. That is, the social behaviors learnt by the children such as aggression are through observations; through viewing the other person...
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