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How does the social learning theory explain aggression?

The social learning theory explains aggression as a learned behaviour from observing and imitating others.

According to the social learning theory, aggression is not an innate behaviour, but rather a learned behaviour from observing and imitating others. This theory suggests that individuals learn through observation, modelling, and reinforcement. For example, if a child observes their parents using aggressive behaviour to solve conflicts, they may learn to use the same behaviour in their own interactions. Additionally, if the child is reinforced for using aggressive behaviour, such as getting what they want or avoiding punishment, they are more likely to continue using it.

The theory also suggests that individuals are more likely to imitate behaviour from those they perceive as having higher status or power. This can include parents, peers, and media figures. For instance, if a child sees a celebrity using aggressive behaviour in a movie or on social media, they may be more likely to imitate that behaviour.

Furthermore, the social learning theory suggests that individuals are more likely to use aggressive behaviour in situations where they perceive that it will be effective in achieving their goals. This can include situations where they feel threatened, frustrated, or provoked. Therefore, the theory suggests that reducing exposure to aggressive models and providing positive reinforcement for non-aggressive behaviour can help reduce the likelihood of aggression.

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