Learned Behaviors: Bobo Doll’s Prominent Place in Psychology

In 1961, researchers Albert Bandura, Dorothea Ross and Sheila A. Ross published an article in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology titled: “Transmission of Aggression through Imitation of Aggressive Models”. This study helped many begin to understand one of the many aspects of aggression.

In this famous study, the researchers had 36 boys and 36 girls who were in the Stanford University Nursery. These children were between the ages of three to six years. In the experimental design, the children were placed into different groups. Below is a diagram of the groups:

Participants grouping. Credit: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html
Participants grouping. Credit: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html

As you can see, the children were either placed in the control group with no adult model, or one of the groups with an aggressive or non-aggressive model. The children placed with the aggressive model watched an adult, either male or female, in a room with toys. In this scenario, the adult was aggressive towards a specific toy, Bobo Doll. The adults would hit Bobo with a hammer, throw it in the air, and say hostile comments toward the inflated clown. The group that had a non-aggressive model, either male or female, watched the adult play with the toys quietly, while they ignored the Bobo Doll. The control group did not have a model to witness either aggressive or non-aggressive behaviors.

After the children had watched the video of the adult’s behavior or not watched for the control group, each of the children were taken individually to a room with appealing toys. However, as soon as each child started to play, the experimenter would enter and say that they needed to use the toys for other children. This part of the experiment was meant to increase aggression in all groups.

Lastly, the children were taken to a similar room that they had witnessed the adult model’s in, depending on their group. The room had both non-aggressive and aggressive toys for the children to play with for 20 minutes, while being observed.

Bobo Doll Interactions. Credit: http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/asp/2013/06/bobo-doll.html
Bobo Doll Interactions. Credit: http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/asp/2013/06/bobo-doll.html

The children who had witnessed an aggressive adult model were significantly more imitative and aggressive that those children who were in the control group or did not witness an aggressive model. This study went on to help support Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which explains that children learn through watching others, including their caregivers. To hear and see some of the results yourself, watch this video:

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Sigmund Freud: The Founder of Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. Although his findings and theories are very controversial, he is one of the most influence people in the field of psychology. His ideas have become interwoven into the fabric of our culture, with terms such as “Freudian slip”, “repression”, and “denial” appearing regularly in everyday language. His innovative treatments of human actions and dreams had massive implication for a wide variety of fields like psychology. He also helped push the study of the mind and greatly influenced the study and understanding of human psychological development.

Id, Ego, and Superego
Id, Ego, and Superego Cited by: http://jamielzillseniorport.blogspot.com/2010/11/idea-id-ego-super-ego.html

Freud’s theories and techniques led largely to evaluating our interpretations of human behavior. His theory states that we all have three parts to our personality; the id, the ego, and the superego. The id consists of basic biological urges and instincts like hunger, thirst, and sexual impulses. It also operates in the unconscious level. The ego is put in place to balance the id’s and the superego’s needs. It seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways. The ego is found in the unconscious and conscious. Lastly, the superego operates in the conscious and subconscious of the mind. It is alert to the real world and makes sure the demands of the id are satisfied morally.

Defense Mechanisms Cited by: http://www.simplypsychology.org/defense-mechanisms.html

Freud’s Mechanism of Defense defense was thought of as psychological “weapons” that your ego uses to protect you from your self-created anxiety. It was used as a way to prevent your ids bad impulses from entering your consciousness. There are six different forms of defense mechanisms that Freud thought we used. The implications from this idea was that nearly everyone uses a way to help them cope at some point in their lives. It help reduce unhealthy physiological activity.

Although Freud’s work may be criticized today as non-scientific, there is no question that he had a huge impact on psychology. His ideas are now a part of public awareness, even though often we do not realize their origins are from his psychoanalytic tradition.

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Brain Structures and their Function

The human brain is made up of many different parts that all have their own unique function. They work together to accomplish all functions of our lives, from memories to actions. When a part of the brain does not work properly, the consequences can be severe. With an understanding of what each part of the brain does, one can start to understand how humans function.

One of the most important parts of the brain is the cerebral cortex because it is what makes us human. It is the ultimate control and information-processing center of the brain. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of neural tissues. This tissue plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, awareness, thought, language, and consciousness.

The Brain Structure and their Functions Credit: http://owlriginal.blogspot.com/2014/01/brain-regions-part1.html#.WCVE8vkrLIU

A key component of the brain is to communicate messages between neurons. To accomplish this the two hemispheres of the brain must pass messages between each other. The axon fibers that are connecting the two cerebral hemispheres together is known as the Corpus Callosum. This neural tissue facilitates communication between the two sides of the brain.

The cerebellum enabled nonverbal learning and skill memory. It is also helps us judge time module our emotions and discriminate sounds and textures. Whereas the hippocampus helps process explicit memories and helps in the storage of memories.

A very important part of the limbic system is the amygdala. It is linked to emotions, especially aggression and fear. Along with the amygdala, the hypothalamus is also linked to emotion and reward. It also controls functions, such as eating.

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