Observational vs. Insight Learning: Albert Bandura & Wolfgang Kohler

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  • 0:00 Observational Learning
  • 1:12 Insight
  • 1:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Bautista
Do you learn through observation or through sudden understanding? In this lesson, we'll take a look at two different methods of learning, which can affect your behavior and problem-solving ability.

Do answers suddenly come to you in a burst of clarity? Or do you learn by watching others? Most people experience both.

Observational Learning

One common type of learning involves observing and mimicking others. This social modeling is called observational learning.

Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura conducted a social experiment that illustrated how aggressive behavior can be learned by watching violence on TV and in real life. First, a group of children watched an adult hit, kick and sit on an inflatable boxing toy in the shape of a clown, called a Bobo doll. Next, the kids were allowed to play with toys for a short period, after which the toys were were taken away in order to build a feeling of frustration. Then the children were allowed to play with the Bobo doll. Not surprisingly, the majority of kids imitated the adult's behavior, hitting the Bobo doll, even using the toy hammers and guns provided.

While this experiment may seem strange and even a little cruel, there is an important lesson to be learned. We take our cues for appropriate behavior from our parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, friends and other role models. Monkey see, monkey do!


Now think about a time when you were puzzling over a problem and, all at once, a light bulb went on in your head. Suddenly, the solution was clear. Those 'Aha!' moments are called insights.

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