How Well Do You Know Social Cognitive Theory?



9 Questions

What is the main idea behind Social Cognitive Theory?

Who developed Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the role of self-efficacy in Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the triadic reciprocal relationship proposed by Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the agentic perspective proposed by Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the relationship between observing a model and behavior in Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the most important indicator for physical activity according to Social Cognitive Theory?

What is the limitation of Social Cognitive Theory in mass media and modeling?

What is the proposed use of Social Cognitive Theory in addressing global problems?


Social Cognitive Theory in Psychology

  • Social cognitive theory (SCT) holds that individuals' knowledge acquisition can be related to observing others in social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences.

  • SCT was developed by Albert Bandura as an extension of his social learning theory, which states that people learn behavior by observing a model performing a behavior and the consequences of that behavior.

  • SCT proposes that survival of humanity depends on the replication of the actions of others and that observing a model can prompt the viewer to engage in behavior they already learned.

  • The theory has its roots in Holt and Brown's 1931 book, which predicted that a person cannot learn to imitate until they are imitated, and Miller and Dollard's 1941 book, which argued that if one were motivated to learn a particular behavior, then that behavior would be learned through clear observations.

  • SCT has been applied to many areas of human functioning, such as career choice, organizational behavior, classroom motivation, learning, and achievement.

  • SCT is based on a triadic reciprocal relationship between the environment, behavior, and cognition and how each behavior witnessed can change a person's way of thinking.

  • SCT is proposed in an agentic perspective, which suggests that individuals are self-developing, self-regulating, self-reflecting, and proactive.

  • SCT posits that learning most likely occurs if there is a close identification between the observer and the model and if the observer also has a great self-efficacy.

  • Self-efficacy is the extent to which an individual believes that they can master a particular skill and plays a central role in behavior performance.

  • SCT has been widely applied in mass communication studies pertaining to media representation regarding race, gender, age, and beyond, and media effects studies related to sports, health, education, and more.

  • SCT has been used to predict behavior in various health-related situations such as weight loss, quitting smoking, and recovery from heart attack.

  • SCT has been proposed as a theory that should be used to further a healthy society and address global problems through a macro social lens, aiming at improving equality of individuals' lives under the umbrellas of SCT.Social Cognitive Theory and its Application in Public Health Campaigns

  • Social cognitive theory (SCT) is based on six constructs, including reciprocal determinism, behavioral capability, observational learning, reinforcements, expectations and perceived self-efficacy.

  • SCT can be used to identify motivating factors for increased physical activity and to develop appropriate intervention methods to change the phenomenon of declining physical activity levels during adolescence.

  • High levels of self-efficacy are positively correlated with physical activity levels, and addressing low levels of perceived self-efficacy may increase physical activity levels.

  • Self-efficacy is the most important indicator for physical activity, and weight loss programs should aim to increase participant self-efficacy.

  • SCT can be used to foster a more healthy public through exercise, and multiple studies find self-efficacy as the most important variable in predicting high- or low-levels of physical activity.

  • Choosing the proper gender, age, and ethnicity for models in AIDS campaigns ensures success by allowing participants to identify with a recognizable peer, increase their self-efficacy, and imitate the proper preventions and actions.

  • SCT strategies guided by a breastfeeding educational program could increase breastfeeding by mothers of preterm infants.

  • Social cognitive theory emphasizes a large difference between an individual's ability to be morally competent and morally performing, and for the most part, social cognitive theory remains the same for various cultures.

  • SCT has limitations in mass media and modeling, as protagonists in TV shows are less likely to experience the long-term suffering and negative consequences caused by their risky behaviors, which could potentially undermine the punishments conveyed by the media, leading to a modeling of the risky behaviors.


Test your knowledge on the fascinating Social Cognitive Theory in Psychology with our quiz! From the six constructs of SCT to its application in public health campaigns, this quiz will challenge your understanding of the theory's development, principles, and its wide-ranging applications. Sharpen your skills in identifying the key factors that influence behavior and learn more about how observing others can shape our cognition. Take the quiz now and discover how much you know about this influential theory!

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