Bobo Doll Experiment

This is a report explaining the outcome of an experiment that was conducted at Stanford University in 1963 by Albert Bandura and colleagues. The research conducted by Bandura and colleagues sought to explore the extent to which children would imitate aggressive behaviour that they saw performed by another person. They were also interested in investigating what factors would affect any imitation; for example, whether the child was male or female and whether or not the model was of the same gender as the child. . (Brace, N., Byford, J., ‘Discovering Psychology’, The Open University (2010)., Chapter 3, Page 109.)

Albert Bandura was very interested in different forms of learning, especially social learning, and he predicted that in certain conditions children were likely to imitate aggressive acts that they had observed.   To explore this issue, Bandura set up a series of laboratory experiments which involved looking at the effects that exposure to a violent model act aggressively towards a ‘Bobo doll’ an inflated five-foot-tall toy, these became known as the ‘Bobo doll studies’ . (Brace, N., Byford, J., ‘Discovering Psychology’, The Open University (2010)., Chapter 3, Page 109.)

Ninety Six children (an equal number on boys and girls) were chosen from the University nursery, all with similar temperaments. Their average age was 4 years and 4 months. The children were placed into one of four groups, each had twenty four children.   They individually experienced a similar procedure but with differing variations (conditions). There were four conditions all together. The control condition, against which experimental conditions can be compared, was group four the children in this group were not exposed to any aggressive behaviour.

Each child was taken into a room with an adult from the experiment team; the room was filled with exciting toys including that of an inflatable Bobo doll and wooden mallet. The child was left to play with the toys.   Another member of the...