My College Class Notes

A place to share my class notes…

Bandura and Human Agency

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Albert Bandura, a prominent social learning and social cognitive theorist, developed the concept of reciprocal interaction, in which human are regarded as highly active processors of information who are continually interacting with the social environment.

The environment affects us, but the opposite is true as well. For example, losing a game may cause your friend to behave in a hostile manner—and eventually lead you to respond the same way, causing friction in the friendship. But your friend would create a far different environment if she were a “good sport” and lost graciously.

What this implies is that we are not just passive responders—we can choose how we want to affect the world around us. We have a “uniquely human capacity” for self-direction (Bandura 1974).

After his early research on observational learning and its role in behavior and personality, Bandura turned to developing his theory of self-efficacy, which refers essentially to what you are actually capable of doing in specific contexts or, more generally, who may you become as a person.

This stands in contrast to perceived self-efficacy—that is, what you think you can do or become. To Bandura, your set of beliefs about what you can do and the extent to which you see yourself as having control over your life are by far the most central and persuasive aspects of personality.

Self-efficacy theory has generated considerable research over the years, and Bandura has extended his theory to many realms of human endeavor and consolidated it within the term Human Agency. In his words, “To be an agent is to intentionally make things happen by ones actions….the core features of agency enable people to play a part in their self development, adaptation, and self renewal with changing times” (Bandura 2001).



Reinforcement History


Reciprocal Interaction

A concept suggesting that humans are highly active processors of information who are continually interacting with the environment.


What a person is actually capable of doing in specific context or of becoming as a person.

Perceived Self-Efficacy

What a person thinks she or he can do or become.


Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

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