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  1. Albert Bandura

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0554

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bandura, A. 2010. Modeling. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Stanford University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychological theories have traditionally emphasized learning through the rewarding and punishing effects that actions produce. Natural endowment provides humans with enabling biological systems but few inborn skills. Competencies must be developed over long periods and altered to fit changing conditions over the life course. Direct experience is a tough teacher, because errors can be highly costly and some types of missteps are deadly. If knowledge and competencies could be acquired only by direct experience, human development would be severely retarded, not to mention unmercifully tedious and perilous. A given culture could never transmit the complexities of its language, mores, social practices, and essential competencies if they had to be shaped laboriously in each new member solely by response consequences, without the benefit of models to exemplify the cultural patterns. The abbreviation of the acquisition process is, therefore, vital for survival as well as for successful human development. Moreover, the constraints of time, resources, and mobility impose severe limits on the situations and activities that can be directly explored for the acquisition of knowledge and competencies.