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Rotter & Mischel: Cognitive Social Learning Theory

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Stefany Angelique

on 12 July 2015

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Transcript of Rotter & Mischel: Cognitive Social Learning Theory

Rotter & Mischel: Cognitive Social Learning Theory
Introduction to Rotter's Social Learning Theory
Rotter's theory is based on five hypotheses:
1. Humans interact with their meaningful environments
2. Human personality is learned
3. Personality has a basic unity
4. Motivation is goal directed
Empirical law of effect: assumption that behaviors that move in the direction of one's goals are more likely to be reinforced
5. People are capable of anticipating events

Focus: attempts to predict human behavior
Maladaptive Behavior
According to Rotter's social learning theory, maladaptive behavior is any persistent behavior that fails to move a person closer to a desired goal.

May arises from setting unrealisticly high goals, and low freedom of movement (Rotter, 1964).
ex: some people unrealistically set a goal to be loved by everyone. this can lead to defensive or maladaptive behvior.
ex: some people underestimte their intellectual abilities because in the past they have been told that they are stupid.

characterized by unrealistic goals, inappropriate behaviors, inadequate skills, or unreasonable low expectancies of one's ability.
Cognitive-Affective Personality System (CAPS)
Consider variablity within situations also behavior's stability
Inconcistency are not due to random error or situation, rather due to pattern of variation
Predicts behavior will
but in
Consistency paradox --> solved by observing long history variability in behaviors & personality is stable
Behavioral signature of personality
is one's manner of varying his behavior in certain situation
Both Rotter and Mischel assume that cognitive factors help shape how people react to environment.
Rotter Human behavior best predicted by understanding people's interaction with their environments. (Interaction between a person's cognition, history, and expectations and their environments)
Mischel believes cognitive factors play important roles in shaping personality.

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Predicting Specific Behaviors
Analyzing four variables to make predictions in specific situation
Behavior Potential
is the possibility that a particular response will occur at a given time and place
It is a function of both expectancy and reinforcement value
If all behavior potentials have the same expectancies, then the probability of a certain behavior occurance can be predicted by seeing which one carries the biggest positive reinforcement value.
If all the behavior potentials have constant reinforcement value, then the behavior with the greatest expectation of reinforcement is most likely to occur.
Rotter's definition of behavior is broad: any response, implicit or explicit, that can be observed directly or indirectly
is a person's expectation that some specific reinforcement will occur in a given situation
Expectancies can be general or specific
Generalized expectancies are based on the belief that certain behaviors will be followed by positive reinforcement (learned from experiences)
Reinforcement Value
is the preference a person attaches to any reinforcement when the probabilities are all equal
What determines reinforcement value?
1. Individual's perception on the positive/negative value of an event (internal reinforcement) and events and conditions which the society places a value.
2. One's needs. Specific reinforcement tends to increase in value as the need becomes stronger.
Psychological Situation
the idea that different people view different situations differently

Each person is unique  subjective interpretation to the interaction with their environment

Introduction to Mischel's Personality Theory
2 types of personality theories:
Personality --> Dynamic entity motivated by drives, perceptions, needs, goals, and expectancies
Personality --> A function of relatively stable traits or personal dispositions.
Julian Rotter
Born in Brooklyn, October 22, 1916
An avid reader and impressed by Adler and Freud
Entered Brooklyn College, majored in Chemistry and graduated in 1937
Attend Adler's lectures in Long Island College of Medicine and soon came to know Adler personally
Graduated from University of Iowa Psychology graduate school in 1938 and went on to receive his PhD in clinical psychology from Indiana University
Serve in World War II as an army psychologist for more than 3 years
Work in Ohio State University where he met Walter Mischel
Married Clara and had a daughter named Jean and a son named Richard
Third and oldest son of Jewish immigrant parents
Socioeconomic conditions: Middle class until the Great Depression. This taught him the importance of situational conditions affecting human behavior
How to affect changes in behavior through the interaction of one person with another.
(problems in human learning in a social situation.)
Changing Goals
Many patients are pursuing skewed / distorted goals. the therapist role is to help these patients understand the faulty nature of their goals, and teach them constructive means of striving realistic goals.
Eliminating Low Expectancies
The therapist tries to eliminate patient's low expectancies of success and low freedom of movement.

3 reasons:
- lack of the skills / information needed to strive successfully toward their goal.
- faulty evaluation of the present situation.
- inadequate generalization.
Provide ways to unlearn inadequate behaviors of solving problems, and also to learn more appropriate ones within the controlled social environment.
3 sources of problems:
2/more goals may be conflicted
destructive goal
setting goals too high
Born on February 22 1930, in Vienna.
Biography: Walter Mischel
He and his family fled to the US when the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938.
Attended New York University and became interested in art, psychology, and life in Greenwich Village
Entered the MA program in clinical psychology at City College of New York.
Studies religious cults that practiced spirit possession and investigating delay of gratification in a cross cultural setting (1956-1958).
Taught for 2 years at the University of Colorado, then joined the Department of Social Relations at Harvard.
Joined the faculty at Columbia University as an active researcher.
Was Married to Harriet Nerlove and has 3 daughters
Mischel's most important early work was
Personality and Assesment
Related Research
Locus of Control on Holocaust Heroes
Participants are divided into three groups, Heroes, Bystanders and people who immigrated before the holocaust.
Heroes generally have strong internal locus of control, they did not believe in chance or luck, but rather their own capability of rescuing the Jews, this indicates a strong internal locus of control, and is an important element to being able to help others under extraordinary conditions
Other variables are autonomy, risk taking, social responsibility, authoritarianism, empathy and altruistic moral reasoning.
Person-Situation Interaction
Using the “If…..then…..” type of questions on an experiment, we could see that people do not act the same way in all situations, depending on their personality, people adjust their behavior to match the situation.
(Example : If somebody just met you and they’re unfriendly, then they only open up to close friends and family)
With“I am….when….” type of situations, there are 2 types of self evaluation, conditional (I am good at basketball, I am smart when solving math problems) and unconditional (I am good, I am stupid) self evaluation.

Person-Situation Interaction (Cont-)
After an experiment with “I am….when….” in an embarrassing situation (failing a final test, bad public speaking, attending a party but cant interact socially) people feel more sadness towards unconditional self-evaluation rather than conditional.
Those who made trait-like self-evaluation (honest, kind) feel more sadness than people who made state-like self-evaluation(good at sports, smart at science)
People who believed that intelligence and personality are the same experienced even greater sadness than the ones who don’t.

Critique of Cognitive Social Learning Theory
1. Has this theory sparked a significant body of research?

yes, Rotter’s locus of control theory have been researched by many in a long time, but this theory is not aligned with his core ideas. However Mischel’s theory have less research, but more relevant to his own core ideas.

3. Does this theory serve as a useful guide to action?
Quite, but not so. The theory may have a good use in identifying, but there’s little to no guide in how to handle the actual thing (for psychologists and teachers).
2. Are the theory falsifiable? (testable)
Yes, however Rotter’s basic prediction formula and general prediction formula are hypothetical and cannot be accurately tested.
5. Is the theory parsimonious? (complicated)
No, it is relatively simple and have a specific target. And because Rotter and Mischel uses research rather than speculations the theory are quite solid.
4. Is the theory internally consistent?
Yes, Rotter have carefully define the terms in his theory and separate components are logically compatible. While Mischel’s theory are from a solid empirical research.

Concept of Humanity
Cognition enables different people to see different things, even though they are in the same situation.
These perceptions play a bigger role in reinforcing their actions than the actual environment.
See people as cognitive animals who thinks that their perspective of the event is more important than the event itself.
People place different values on reinforcements, depending on how it would coexist with their behavior.

People place positive value on events that bring them closer to their goal.
See humans as a goal directed animals.
Goals serves as a criteria of evaluating events. (if the event helps them achieve the goal, then the event is a positive one)
People move in the direction of the goals they have set for themselves.
Goals can change based on people’s expectancies on reinforcements and their preference.
People are continually in the process of setting goals, they have choices in directing their own life.
Free choice is not unlimited, because past experiences and the extent of their own ability can partially determine their behavior.
Cognitive Social Learning theory views people as forward-looking, purposive, cognitive, affective, and social animals of evaluating present experiences and anticipating future events on the basis on their own goals.
Background of the Cognitive-Affective Personality System
Walter Mischel believe that behavior is largely a function of situation.
Consistency Paradox
a situation where people seem to intuitively believe that people's behavior is relatively consistent, yet empirical evidence suggest much variability in behavior.
Person-Situation Interaction
people have some consistency in their behavior, but the situation has a powerful effect on behavior.
Situation Variable
personal qualities
have important role and influence on one's action
How to determine?
Uniformity and diversity of reactions

e.g --> interaction between situation feedback and one's expectancy for success influences choice of rewards
Cognitive process
might result in changing difficult situation to easier ones
e.g --> delay of gratification
Cognitive-Affective Units
consists of 5 overlapping person variables which interact with situation
actions are not merely actions, but includes cognitive and affective qualities
including psychological, social and physiological aspects
Encoding Strategies
one's way to categorize information from outside, events
to transform information to
personal constructs
accounts for different personal construct in every person
Competencies and Self-Regulatory Strategies
behavior depends on one's belief on what one can do (competency) , one's plans or expectancies
agree on Bandura, that we have our own version of the world
results in generating beliefs about one's performance capabilities
self-regulatory strategies
--> one's way to control behavior through
self-imposed goals
self-produces consequences

people do not need external rewards or punishment
Expentancies and Beliefs
people learn from previous experiences and observation --> behaviors which result in most valued outcome
no information --> previous behaviors in similar situation which result in greatest value
stimulus outcome expectancies
--> help us predict what follows a certain stimuli
explains classical conditioning
inconsistent behavior
is a result of our inability to predict others
Goals and Values
people react actively towards situations --> formulate, making plans
determines selective attention to events
Affective Responses
includes emotions, feelings and physiological reactions
inseparable from cognitive responses -->
reciprocal relationship
affects the 4 other units
Generalized Expectancies
Behavior expectancies across situations --> not for specific situations

Making predictions for general situations

Affected by “needs”

Set of behaviors which people perceive as moving them in the direction of a goal --> behaviors with the same/similar reinforcement

The need to be recognized by others and achieve status

E.g. Wanting to excel in class to gain higher status and recognition from others
Including the need to excel in certain subjects to gain recognition
The need to control others’ behaviors
E.g. Persuading friends to agree with ones ideas

The need to be free from the domination of others
Free to make decisions and rely on oneself
E.g. Refusing help in finishing a math homework

The need to be cared by others and protected from danger
E.g. Asking mom to stay home in a work day to take care of your illness

Love and Affection
The need to be accepted beyond recognition --> need for others to show positive feelings and warmth toward oneself
E.g. doing favors for others to receive gratitude and positive verbal expressions

Physical Comfort
The need to have physical security and good health
E.g. Turning air-conditioner on

Need Components
Need Potential
is the possible occurences of a set of functionally related behaviors directed toward the satisfaction of similar goals

NP = “Group” of behaviors ; BP = likelihood that a specific behavior will happen in specific situation
Freedom of Movement
Overall expectation of being reinforced for doing certain behaviors that satisfy some general need

Need Value
is the degree to which someone prefers one set of reinforcement to another

Rotter's Measurements
Internal-External Control Scale
Internal: Believe that one has high personal control on environment
29 items; 6 fillers
Choosing alternative a or b
Score of 23 being the highest external score and 0 highest internal score
External: Believe that the environment and what happens is mostly by chance and others’ behaviors
Correction of misconceptions:

#1 Scores on scale are not determinants of behaviors, only indicators

#2 Locus of control is a generalized expectancy, not specific and can not exactly predict achievement in specific situations

#3 People are not distinctively divided into two plain groups (internals or externals) but it is a gradient and may “change” in certain situations

#4 High internal is not always socially desirable, both extremes is undesirable

Interpersonal Trust Scale
Interpersonal Trust: a general expectancy that another’s words can be relied on (Rotter, 1980)
25 agree/disagree items, 15 fillers
5 point gradation from strongly agree to strongly disagree
High score means high interpersonal trust, vice versa
High trust (independent of gullibility) is good
Rotter believes that therapist should be an active participant in a social interaction with the patient.
Second son ofupper middle class parents
Attended doctoral studies at Ohio State University (1953-1956)
Mischele contended that some basic traits do persist over time, but little evidence exist that they generalized from one situation to another.
Mischel argued specific behaviors will not accurately predict personality traits.
Personal dispositions influence behavior only under certain conditions and in certain situations.
Mischele argues that a person's beliefs, values, goals, cognitions, and feelinfs interact with those dispositions to shape behavior.
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