Explain some of the behaviors of the same-sex adult that you learned as a child and now demonstrate. Based on social cognitive theory, explain how you might have acquired the behaviors. Be specific. Hock, R. R. (2020). (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
As a child, I learned several behaviors of same-sex adults that I now demonstrate as an adult. These behaviors can be attributed to the principles of social cognitive theory, which posits that individuals acquire behaviors through observational learning, imitation, and the reinforcement of those behaviors. In this essay, I will discuss some of the specific same-sex adult behaviors I learned as a child and explain how these behaviors were acquired using social cognitive theory.
Same-sex Adult Behaviors Learned as a Child
One of the same-sex adult behaviors I learned as a child is the way in which males express emotions. As a child, I observed male adults in my family and community who demonstrated stoicism and a limited range of emotional expression. These male adults rarely displayed vulnerability or openly discussed their emotions. Now, as an adult, I find myself exhibiting similar patterns of emotional expression. I often find it difficult to openly express my emotions and tend to adopt a stoic demeanor, similar to the male role models I observed as a child.
Another behavior I learned as a child is the way in which females engage in self-care practices. I observed the women in my life dedicating time and effort to maintain their physical appearance, such as applying makeup and grooming their hair. Additionally, I observed them engaging in activities that promote emotional well-being, such as spending time with friends, engaging in hobbies, and practicing self-reflection. As an adult, I find myself incorporating similar self-care practices into my daily routine. I prioritize taking care of my physical appearance and dedicating time for self-reflection and leisure activities.
Acquisition of Behaviors through Social Cognitive Theory
According to social cognitive theory, individuals acquire behaviors through observational learning, which involves observing and imitating the behaviors of others (Hock, 2020). As a child, I observed the behaviors of same-sex adults in my family and community, which played a significant role in shaping my own behaviors. I witnessed male adults demonstrating limited emotional expression, and this observation influenced my own behavior, leading me to adopt a similar pattern of emotional expression as an adult.
This process of observational learning can be explained using Bandura’s concept of vicarious reinforcement (Hock, 2020). By observing the reinforcement or consequences of certain behaviors in others, individuals can learn to associate those behaviors with positive outcomes and adopt them in their own lives. In the case of male emotional expression, I observed that male adults who displayed vulnerability or openly expressed their emotions were often met with negative reactions or were not taken seriously. Therefore, I learned to associate limited emotional expression with positive outcomes, leading to the adoption of similar behaviors.
Imitation is another important mechanism through which behaviors are acquired according to social cognitive theory (Hock, 2020). As a child, I imitated the behaviors of the same-sex adults I observed, including their limited emotional expression and self-care practices. Through imitation, I internalized and replicated the behaviors that I believed were characteristic of same-sex adults.
Imitation is facilitated by the process of identification, wherein individuals adopt the behaviors of those they perceive as similar or desirable (Hock, 2020). I identified with the same-sex adults in my family and community and saw them as role models. By imitating their behaviors, I sought to align myself with their perceived qualities and characteristics. This process of identification and imitation contributed to the acquisition of the same-sex adult behaviors I learned as a child and now demonstrate as an adult.
Reinforcement is an essential component of social cognitive theory and plays a crucial role in the acquisition and maintenance of behaviors (Hock, 2020). Individuals are more likely to repeat behaviors that are reinforced, either through external rewards or internal satisfaction. In the context of same-sex adult behaviors, reinforcement can occur through various mechanisms.
For example, the limited emotional expression I observed in male adults may have been reinforced through societal expectations or cultural norms. Male adults who adhere to traditional masculine roles may receive positive reinforcement from society, such as increased societal status, respect, or acceptance. In contrast, those who deviate from these roles and display more emotional vulnerability may face negative consequences, such as being labeled as weak or unmanly. These reinforcing factors could explain why I learned to adopt limited emotional expression as a same-sex adult behavior.
In conclusion, I have learned and now demonstrate several behaviors of same-sex adults that I observed as a child. These behaviors, such as limited emotional expression and self-care practices, have been acquired through the principles of social cognitive theory. Observational learning, imitation, and reinforcement have all contributed to the acquisition of these behaviors. By observing and imitating the same-sex adults in my family and community, as well as being influenced by societal and cultural norms, I internalized and replicated the behaviors I believed were characteristic of same-sex adults. Understanding the acquisition of these behaviors through social cognitive theory provides insights into the development of gender-specific behaviors and their impact on individuals as they transition into adulthood.