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Social Cognitive Theory

Albert Bandura


Theories of human behavior differ in their conceptions of human nature and what they regard as the basic determinants and mechanisms governing self-development, adaptation, and change. Social cognitive theory is rooted in an agentic perspective (→  Bandura   1986, 2006a ). To be an agent is to influence one's own functioning and events that affect one's life. In this view people are contributors to their life circumstances, not just products of them. Human behavior has often been explained in terms of unidirectional causation. In the environmental deterministic view, behavior is shaped and controlled by environmental forces. In the dispositional deterministic view, behavior is driven by internal drives and dispositions. Social cognitive theory explains human functioning in terms of triadic reciprocal determination. In this transactional view of self and society, personal factors in the form of cognitive, emotional, and biological processes, the way one behaves, and environmental forces all operate as interacting determinants that influence each other. Individuals are characterized within this theoretical perspective in terms of a number of basic capabilities, which are reviewed next (→  Cognition ; emotion ). Humans are endowed with an extraordinary capacity for symbolization that provides them with a powerful tool for comprehending their environment and altering it in ways that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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