How and why a study (1963) by Albert Bandura and colleagues Ross and Ross has contributed to our understanding of children’s aggressive behaviour in view of social learning.

The report aims to:

  * Offer a better understanding of children’s aggressive behaviour and social learning.
  * Provide background information on Bandura.
  * Provide a conclusion and recommendations designed to support, for example, activity leaders to carry out their job roles effectively.

‘In the 1930s, a study by Dale (cited in Oates, 2012, p. 105) showed that 25 per cent of 1500 films that were examined displayed crime as a main feature. There are strong concerns that violent behaviour may be linked to media violence, such as films, television, and computer games. Born in 1925 (Alberta, Canada) Bandura was an undergraduate at the University of British Columbia where he studied psychology; thereafter, he was a postgraduate at the University of Iowa, USA. In 1953 Bandura took up a post at Stanford University, USA and has remained there throughout his working life. Bandura’s work portfolio includes the study of observational learning and investigating subjects related to social influence, as well as scripting public broadcasts on teenage pregnancy, the transmission of Aids and literacy. Driven by the interest in various forms of learning (particularly social learning, which can be understood as a theory in which people learn by observing others and imitating their behaviour) and the link between media violence and children’s aggression, Bandura and associates conducted an experiment in 1963 called the ‘Bobo doll studies’. Bandura predicted that, when exposed to certain conditions, children were likely to imitate acts of aggressive behaviour they had observed (Oates, 2009). To the contrary, at the time Bandura conducted his study televised violence was considered good; this was because people thought that seeing someone hitting someone else released your own...