What is the concept and principles of Social Cognitive Theory?

Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) is a psychological perspective that focuses on the dynamic interplay between individuals, their environment, and their behavior. Developed by psychologist Albert Bandura, SCT proposes that people learn and develop through a continuous process of observation, imitation, and reinforcement. This theory emphasizes the role of both cognitive and social factors in shaping human behavior, and has been widely applied in various fields such as education, health, and social psychology. In this article, we will explore the key concepts and principles of Social Cognitive Theory and its relevance in understanding human behavior and promoting positive change.

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations. One’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. The concept of self-efficacy lies at the center of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. The main concept in social cognitive theory is that an individual’s actions and reaction in almost every situation is influenced by the actions which that individual has observed in others. People observe others acting within an environment whether natural or social. These observations are remembered by an individual and help shape social behaviors and cognitive processes. This theoretical approach proposes the idea that by changing how an individual learns their behaviors in the early stages of mental development could have a large impact on their mental processes in later stages of development. Since Self-efficacy is developed from external experiences and self-perception and is influential in determining the outcome of many events, it is an important aspect of social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy represents the personal perception of external social factors. According to Bandura’s theory, people with high self-efficacy—that is, those who believe they can perform well—are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.


Social Learning Theory

This psychological theory describes the acquisition of socially valuable skills that are developed exclusively or primarily in a social group. Social learning depends on group dynamics and how individuals either succeed or fail at dynamic interactions. Social learning promotes the development of individual emotional and practical skills as well as the perception of oneself and the acceptance of others with their individual competencies and limitations. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. Self-efficacy levels reflect a persons’ understanding of what skills they can offer in a group setting.

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