the study of human behavior A-Level Coursework

Learning psychology refers to the process where an individual changes due to experiences in life. Psychology explains that people behave the way they have seen other behave during their growth period. An individual’s behavior is dependent on the behavior of other people in the society. The society is governed by norms which dictate the behavior that is generally acceptable in the society. Learning physiology is thus influenced by factors such as environment and reinforcement. Learning is credited for long-term behavioral changes. It is thus important to ensure that positive behavior is learnt by the young to ensure peace and understanding in the community. Positive behavior can be learnt by ensuring that the individual is able to understand right from wrong. It is also influential to ensure that wrong behavior is considered desirable through incentives and bad behavior is discouraged through reinforcements such as punish meant. In a rapidly changing society, the modes of learning are changing exposing the youth with a lot of information. It is important to guide this new generation to ensure that the society grows through the use of this information (Nairne, 2011).

The work focuses on the influence of observational learning as one of the major modes of learning used in explaining behavior. This form of learning is basically learnt from other people in the society. An individual must observe behavior from other people in the society, record the information into their mind and eventually replicate the behavior. The choice to continue replicating the behavior is dependent on the outcome. The media especially the television has been a major learning tool for the current generation. Children learn from the television programs behavior that can be positive or negative. Children shows teach children how to speak or count. The child may learn is the guardian rewards positive learning or punish negative learning (Mishra, 2008).

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Literature review

Observational learning is among the influential modes of learning by children. Various experiments have been conducted to show how learning from observation is influential. On of the experiments was conducted by Albert Bandura. Albert conducted the Bobo doll experiment which is widely used to depict the influence of observational learning. In the experiment, a woman reacted violently towards a Bobo doll while a child was watching. The child was later presented with a similar doll and the behavior patterns were the same. This research showed that exposing the children to violence would cause the children to behave violently (Mishra, 2008).

Observational learning is not restricted to human subjects. The Hummingbird experiment used two groups of hummingbirds to show that even animals can learn through observation. One of the groups of birds was exposed to feeding of a knowledgeable bird while the other was not. Birds that were exposed to a tutor were found to be more efficient compared to the other group. Animals in the wild learn mainly from observing the behavior of their parents. Animals that hunt teach their young how to hunt at an early age to ensure that they can be self dependent in the future (Mishra, 2008).

The light box experiment is also another experiment that can be used to evaluate observational learning. The experiment was conducted by Pinkham and Jaswal which evaluated children at the age of eight months to two years. The light box experiment required parent to use one way to turn on the rights. Children that observed their guardians use their forehead tried to switch on the rights using their foreheads. It was evidence that children learn a lot through observation thus parent should try portraying positive behavior (Nairne, 2011).

The other experiment is the ghost machine experiment which proved that children learn from emulation. Emulation refers to copying actions of a model. This process explains to the person how things work. A child can learn that pressing a button on remote changes a channel on a television set. The experiment used two set of participants where one set learnt from a machine while the others learnt from a human participant. It was evident that the use of a ghost machine yielded better results compared to the use of a participant (Nairne, 2011).


The method used to learn how observational learning influences children will be the use of questionnaires. Short questionnaires will be sent to twenty baby care centers to evaluate the observational learning skills possessed by the caregivers. The questionnaires will be filled by the participants using three main methods. Centers that are a long distance from researcher’s location will be provided with the questionnaires through emails. Centers where the care giver is busy will be called when convenient and the questionnaire filled through a telephone conversation. Centers that are near the researcher will be filled by the use of interviews. The phone conversations and interview will be recorded using an audio recorder and later transcribed using NVIVO.

The questionnaire will have question that evaluate the experience of the caregiver. This ensures that the caregiver has adequate experience with young children. The questionnaire will also evaluate the observational skills taught in the center. The questionnaire will also evaluate the benefits of this mode of teaching. The teachers will give the reasons why thy use this form of teaching in the centers. All the information collected from the questionnaires will then be compiled to ensure that the results are used to give a credible conclusion.


The information collected from the centers will be treated using NVIVO and excel spread sheets. The spread sheets will be used in comparing the information from the different centers. The use of NVIVO software will be effective in transcribing the information recorded in the audio recorder. The recordings will take an average of thirty minutes. All the information collected from the research will be compiled to evaluate the characteristics of the data. The researcher should ensure that the data collected from the research is credible by conducting a literature review. The information collected from the literature review will be used to ensure that the information collected is accurate.

From the research results, it is expected that the teachers with more experience will be more efficient in ensuring that the student learn through observation. It will also be evident that the methods of teaching through observation increase as the teachers skills grow. The teacher is able to realize the best way to implement observational learning. It is also evident that younger teachers in the profession are able to implement modern modes education such as the use of television in the centers.


The aim of the study was to evaluate observational learning as one of the major ways used to teach young children. From the literature review, it is evident that not only does man learns from observation, animals also rely on observation. Observation plays a significant growth during the growth stage of animals. Children between the ages of eight months to two years are able to learn from observation from the care givers. Day care centers were chosen for the research as children around this age are found in the day care centers. The study will impact the field of learning psychology by ensuring that only positive behavior is taught to the children. Children under the age bracket should be monitored closely to ensure that negative behavior such as violence is discouraged. The research can also be used to ensure that positive behavior is cultivated in the society.


Mishra, B.K. (2008). Psychology; the study of human behavior. New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Nairne, J.S. (2011). Psychology. Australia: Thompson/Wadsworth.

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