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Albert Bandura (1925-)

Albert Bandura, who proposed the most comprehensive and widely held theory of modeling, was born in Albert Bandura proposed the most comprehensive and accepted modeling theory. (Archives of the History of American Psychology) Mundane, Alberta, Canada, in 1925. He initially termed this social learning theory, but it is now identified as social cognitive theory. Bandura's early school years were spent in a small, understaffed school in which students had to take a great amount of responsibility for their own learning. This style of learning helped to foster his desire for inquiry, which he has maintained throughout his career.

Bandura attended the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1949 with the Bolocan Award in Psychology. He received his master's degree in 1951 and his Ph.D. in 1952 from the University of Iowa, where he was strongly influenced by the work of Neal Miller (1909-), an early proponent of social learning as a way to explain human behavior. Shortly after graduating, Bandura joined the faculty at Stanford University, where he was promoted to full professor in 1964 and awarded the David Starr Jordan Endowed Chair in psychology in 1974.

In collaboration with his first doctoral student Richard Walters, Bandura conducted research into the role of modeling and observational learning in child behavior. In 1963 they published Social Learning and Personality Development, in which they stated that an individual could model behavior by just observing the behavior of another. Bandura later developed a comprehensive social cognitive theory of human functioning. In this theory, self-regulatory and self-reflective processes enable the individual to adapt to various situations. This interest in self-efficacy is a central aspect to his theoretical position. This work led to his publication of Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory in 1986 and Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control in 1997.

Bandura served as president of the American Psychological Association in 1974, and he has earned many awards, including the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award and the Thorndike Award for Distinguished Contributions of Psychology to Education by the American Psychological Association; the William James Award of the American Psychological Society; the James McKeen Cattell Award; and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Bandura's seminal research on the modeling behavior of children, self-efficacy, and social cognitive theory made him a renowned researcher. His own arduous work adds credence to his theoretical position that belief in oneself can lead to success in life.


Publications by Bandura

Bandura, Albert, and Richard H. Walters. Adolescent Aggression: AStudy of the Influence of Child-Training Practices. New York: Ronald Press, 1959.

Principles of Behavior Modification. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969.

Psychological Modeling: Conflicting Theories. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1971.

Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973.

Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986.

Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: W. H. Freeman, 1997.

Robert C. Hardy

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 1