The nature/nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited (genetic) or acquired (learned) characteristics. This exercise will help you explore that debate by looking at one specific behavior, aggression.
Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory states that aggression is learned from the environment through observation and imitation (nurture). He concludes this, in part, from the results of his famous Bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961). Review the Bobo experiment here: Bobo (Links to an external site.) Experiment (Links to an external site.).
Reflect on the following issues:
- Where do you stand on the nature/nurture debate? Is aggression a learned behavior? Please provide specific examples to your point of view.
- Discuss your thoughts on the experiment and its relevance to the debate. Do you see any potential flaws or underlying factors that may not be reflected in the analysis here?
- Suggest at least one implication for society if children do learn predominantly by imitation.
Write a 2–3 page paper (not including the title page and reference page) referencing at least two sources (you may cite the website provided here for the Bobo doll experiment as one of your sources. Refer to the Bobo doll experiment, but do not summarize it.)