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Discuss the influence of observational learning on aggression.

Observational learning can increase aggression by providing models for behaviour and reinforcing aggressive actions.

Observational learning, also known as social learning theory, suggests that individuals can learn new behaviours by observing others. This can include learning aggressive behaviours through observing others being aggressive. For example, a child may learn to hit others when they are frustrated after seeing a parent or sibling do the same.

Bandura's Bobo doll experiment demonstrated the influence of observational learning on aggression. Children who observed an adult being aggressive towards the doll were more likely to imitate the behaviour than those who did not. This suggests that seeing aggressive behaviour can increase the likelihood of engaging in similar behaviour.

The reinforcement of aggressive behaviour can also increase its occurrence. If an individual observes someone being aggressive and receiving a positive outcome, such as gaining power or attention, they may be more likely to engage in similar behaviour themselves. This can lead to a cycle of aggression, where individuals learn and reinforce aggressive behaviour through observation and positive outcomes.

However, it is important to note that not all individuals who observe aggression will become more aggressive themselves. Factors such as individual differences, situational factors, and the presence of alternative models can all influence the likelihood of aggressive behaviour being imitated.

In conclusion, observational learning can increase aggression by providing models for behaviour and reinforcing aggressive actions. This highlights the importance of considering the impact of media, peers, and role models on the development of aggressive behaviour.

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