Incidental learning Of Influenced Children


Studies have come out a design for the phenomenon of identification in terms on incidental learning, demonstrates that children is easily influenced by the things around them. Experiments by Blake (1958) and others (Grusser, Polansky and Lippit, 1951; Rosenblith, 1959; Schachter and Hall, 1952) Have shown that mere observations responses of a model has a fascinating effect on subjects'(children) reactions in the immediate social influence setting. In the experiments, subjects were exposed to aggressive and non aggressive adult models and were then tested amount of imitative learning in a new situation.


The subjects that were chosen are 36 boys & 36girls, whom were enrolled in the Stanford University Nursery School. Their age ranges from 37 to 69 months with an average age of 52 months. The adults, a male and a female, served in the role of model, and on female experimenter conducted the study for all 72 children.

Subjects were then divided into eight experimental groups of six subjects each and a control group of 24 subjects. Half the experimental subjects were exposed to models that were controlled and non aggressive while the other half were exposed to an aggressive model. These groups were then subdivided into male and female subjects. Half of the subjects in the aggressive and non aggressive conditions observed same sex models, while the remaining subjects in each group had no prior exposure to the adult models and was tested only in the generalization situation.

Subjects were then rated on five point rating scales by the experimenter and the nursery school teacher, both who were well acquainted with the children. These scales measured the extent to which the subjects display their physical aggression, verbal aggression, aggression towards inanimate objects and aggression inhibition. The later scale, which measures the tendency to inhibit aggressive reactions in the face of high instigation, provided a measure of aggression anxiety.

51 subjects were rated independently by both judges so as to permit an assessment of the interrater agreement the reliability of the composite aggression score, estimated by the means of the Pearson Product moment correlation, was. Sq.

Experimental Conditions

In the first step of the procedure, experimenter brought in subjects individually and they also invite the model to join the game. Subjects were then escorted to the play area in one corner of the room. The subjects were then demonstrated by the experimenter on how to design pictures by using potato prints and stickers provided. Geometrical forms were included in the potato prints and the stickers were attractive multi-colour pictures of animals, flowers and western figures to be pasted on a pastoral scene. All the activities mentioned above were selected through previous studies in the nursery school as it have high interest value for the children.

After being settled, the subjects, the model were then escorted to the opposite corner of the room which contained small table, chair, a tinker toy set. A mallet and a five feet inflated bobo doll. The model were then explained that these are the toys to play with by the model and the experimenter left the room.

With subjects in the non aggressive condition, the model assembled the tinker toys in a quiet subdued manner totally ignoring the Bobo doll. In contrast to the subjects in the aggressive condition where the model begins to assemble the tinker toy but after a minute passed the model started aggressing towards the bobo doll.

The Result

Imitative learning can be clearly demonstrated if a model performs sufficiently novel patterns of responses which are unlikely to occur independently of the observation of the behaviours in substantially identical form. For example, if the subjects performed an act by punching the bobo doll, the model exhibited distinctive aggressive acts which were to be scored as imitative responses. The model laid the bobo doll on its side; sat and punched it repeatedly in the nose. The bobo doll was then raised and was hit on the head with the mallet. The doll were then tossed in the air and kicked aggressively. These actions were repeated three times and aggressive word such as "sock him in the nose ", "hit him down, "throw him in the air, "kick him, "pow and two non aggressive words such as, "he keeps coming back for more and "he sure is a tough fella were used.

Subjects were then provided with a diverting task which occupied their attention and also insured observation of the behaviour in the absence of any instruction to observe or learn the responses in question. Since subjects could not perform the aggression made by the models, any learning that occurred was purely on an observational or covert basis.

Aggression Arousal

Subjects were tested for the amount of imitative learning in a different experimental room that was set off from the main nursery school building. The two experimental situation were thus clearly differentiated, in fact, many subjects were under the impression that they were no longer in the nursery school grounds.

Prior to the test for imitation, subjects, experimental and control were subjected to mild aggression arousal to insure that they were under some degree of instigation to aggression. The arousal experience was included for two main reasons. Firstly, observation of aggression tends to reduce the probability of aggression on the part of the observer (Rosenbaum and deCharms, 1960). Consequently, the subjects in the aggressive condition, in relation both to the non aggressive and control groups, would be under weaker instigation following exposure to the models. Second, if subjects in the non aggressive condition expressed little aggression in the face of appropriate instigation, the presence of an inhibitory, process would seem to be indicated.

The subjects were then brought to an out room that contained relatively attractive toys such as a fire engine, a locomotive, a jet fighter plane, a cable car, a colourful spinning top and a doll set complete with wardrobe, doll carriage and a baby crib. The experimentor explained that the toys were for the subject to play but soon after subjects became efficiently involved with the materials. The experimentor remarked that these were her very best toys, that she did not let just anyone play with them, and had decided to reserve these toys for other children. However subjects could play with any of the toys that were in the next room. Both the experimentor, and the subject then entered the adjourning experimental room.

It was necessary for the experimentor to remain in the room during the session, as to avoid a member of the children who would either refuse to remain alone or would leave before the end of the session. However, to minimise any influence by her presence, the experimentor remain as inconspicuous by making herself busy with paperwork at a desk in the far corner of the room and avoiding any form of interaction with the subjects.

The experimental room contain a variety of toys which includes some that could be used in imitative or non imitative aggression, and others that tend to elicit predominantly non aggressive forms of behaviour. The aggressive toys include a five foot bobo doll, a mallet and a peg board, two dart guns, a tether ball with a face printed on it which hung them the ceiling. The non aggressive toys are, a tea set, crayons and colouring paper, aball, two dolls, three beads, cars and trucks, and plastic farm animals.

In order to eliminate any variation in behaviour due to mere placement of the toys in the vase, the material was arranged in a fixed order for each of the sessions. The subjects were then allowed to spend 20 minutes in this experiments and their behaviour was rated in terms of predetermined response catergories by judges who observed the session through a one way mirror in an adjoining observation room. The session was divided into five second interval by means of electric timer, thus yielding to total number of 240 responses units for each subject.


In conclusion to the experiment conducted, I find that the whole experiment is a successful experiment but again there is some points to critic. For example there is a double edge sword to this experiment like the subjects used. The subjects that was used are kids and as we know that kids follow closely to what the surrounding tells them do. And the bad thing bout this is that the kids will follow and as a result, this is could distort the kids to become aggressive if they follow to closely to this experiment, but then again along the way, the kids won't follow closely to it if the upbringing is positive. Secondly, using kids as a subject is good because they are pure and easily to be controlled for example if kids are being brought up the positive way, the kids will be positive but if the kids are brought up negatively, they will turn negative when they grow up. And according to the experiment result, the boys scored well because in my point of view, boys tend to follow the guy aggressive model more as it is born with the thing in them unlike girls, they are soft by nature. Hereby, I conclude that this experiment has been instrumental in proving that aggression through imitation can be propagated and manipulated.


  • Aggression Transmission through Imitation of Aggressive Models (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961)

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!