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Albert Bandura (born December 4, 1925) is a Canadian-born American psychologist most famous for his work on social learning theory (or Social Cognitivism) and self efficacy. He is particularly noted for the Bobo doll experiment.

Education and academic career

Bandura graduated with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia with the Bolocan Award in psychology, and then obtained his M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D. in 1952 from the University of Iowa. Arthurs D Benton was his academic adviser at Iowa. [1] Upon graduation, he participated in a clinical internship with the Wichita Kansas Guidance Center. The following year, he accepted a teaching position at Stanford University in 1953, which he held until his academic retirement on March 15, 2010. [2] In 1974 the American Psychological Association elected him as its president.


Bandura was initially influenced by Robert Sears' work on familial antecedents of social behavior and identificatory learning, Bandura directed his initial research to the role of social modeling in human motivation, thought, and action. In collaboration with Richard Walters, his first doctoral student, Bandura engaged in studies of social learning and aggression. Their joint efforts illustrated the critical role of modeling in human behavior and led to a program of research into the determinants and mechanisms of observational learning (part of which has become known in the history of psychology as the "Bobo Doll experiment"). The program also led to Bandura's first book, Adolescent Aggression in 1959, and to a subsequent book, Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis in 1973.

In 1963 Bandura published Social Learning and Personality Development. In 1974 Stanford University awarded him an endowed chair and he became David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology. In 1977, Bandura published the ambitious Social Learning Theory, a book that altered the direction psychology took in the 1980s.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

In the course of investigating the processes by which modeling alleviates phobic disorders in snake-phobics, Bandura found that self-efficacy beliefs (which the phobic individuals had in their own capabilities to alleviate their phobia) mediated changes in behavior and in fear-arousal. He then launched a major program of research examining the influential role of self-referent thought in psychological functioning. Although he continued to explore and write on theoretical problems relating to myriad topics, from the late 1970s he devoted much attention to exploring the role that self-efficacy beliefs play in human functioning.

In 1986 Bandura published Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, a book in which he offered a social cognitive theory of human functioning that accords a central role to cognitive, vicarious, self-regulatory and self-reflective processes in human adaptation and change. This social cognitive theory has its roots in an agentic perspective that views people as self-organizing, proactive, self-reflecting and self-regulating, not just as reactive organisms shaped by environmental forces or driven by inner impulses. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control was published in 1997.

Bandura has lectured and written on topics such as escaping homelessness, deceleration of population growth, transgressive behavior, mass communication, substance abuse, and terrorism. He has explored the manner in which people morally disengage when they perpetrate inhumanities, and he has traced the psychosocial tactics by which individuals and societies selectively disengage moral self-sanctions from inhumane conduct. He desires and works for a civilized life with humane standards buttressed "by safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty".

A 2002 survey ranked Bandura as the fourth most-frequently cited psychologist of all time—behind B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget—and the most cited living one.[3]

Preceded by:
Leona E. Tyler
Albert Bandura elected APA President
Succeeded by:
Donald T. Campbell

See also



Book Chapters

  • Bandura, A. (1972) The stormy decade: fact or fiction? In: D. Rogers (d.) Issues in Adolescent Psychology, 2nd edn, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
  • Bandura, A. (1988) Perceived self-efficacy: exercise of control through self-belief. In: J.P. Dauwalder, M_ Perrez and V. Hobi (eds) Annual Series of European Research in Behaviour Therapy 2: 27-59.


External link

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
  1., See end of page for Bandura's own statement.
  3. Haggbloom S.J. (2002). The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, Review of General Psychology, 6 (2). 139-152.