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Reciprocal Determinism Case Study


Task: Provide a detailed analysis of reciprocal determinism case study.


It was in Canada that the founder of reciprocal determinism, Albert Bandura was born in the year of 1925. The theory of social learning was derived by him when he was pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. While conducting his psychological research, Bandura abides himself with certain strong beliefs regarding the subject. As per his approach, the experiments or researches are meant to be conducted only in a laboratory environment which would help the researcher to attain the desired or determined behavior. The theories of Bandura have contributed a lot to the evolution of medical and clinical science to the current form and you could trace various literary works of him by which the ideology of reciprocal determinism case study could be understood. The theory of reciprocal determinism was introduced by Bandura which was majorly based on the ideology that it is the social environment and personal characteristics of the individual which would shape his behavior.

It is the elements of ethics, personality, ideologies followed, and morals that the personal factors majorly rely on. The external environment in which the individual sustains could be termed as the social environment and the factors in it like the popular belief, type of people, major ideology, and other factors make a significant impact on the individual behavior.

The common behavioral pattern like being afraid while taking a flight by showing the behavior of being scared, nervous, unordinary behavior could be classified as a reciprocal determinism case study. This particular behavior of the person would affect other surrounding travelers and could generate the feeling of agitation, anger, and hostility, which in fact would make the condition of the nervous person even worse. His is the best instance in which the individualistic factors, behavioral determinants, and environmental determinants would act together an impact on the same person. Let us take another instance in which a person is forced from his job and because of it he considers himself a pure failure. It is because of the indisciplinary behavior and the poor working habits of the person that he rusticated from his job. Because of his inability and inappropriate behavior, that forces the employer to treat him poorly, and consecutively the behavior gets much worse because of the lack of confidence, and at last, he gets dismissed.

The major factor which would affect the occurrence of reciprocal determinism is the presence of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief of a person towards his efficiency to attain a particular target or goal. The level of self-efficacy in a person gets affected by various means which are majorly the approach of emotional arousal, vicarious experiences, performance accomplishments, verbal persuasions, etc. The factor of personal accomplishment includes the history of the experiences a person has gone through, which includes both his success and failures. The factor of vicarious experience would depend on the opinions and reflections of others and the contribution made by them in pursuing a particular task. The act of self-instruction from the behalf of a motivator, or suggesting self could come under the tag of Verbal persuasion. In the step of emotional arousal, all the factors which would lead to the raise emotional outburst are being subdued which has happened because of the lack of performance.

The most effective way of articulating the theory of reciprocal determinism is by shaping it into an imaginary flow of triangle. The factor of behavioral determinants could be placed in the topmost point of the triangle. The two points situated at the base of the triangle could be allocated for environmental factors and personal determinants. The arrows should be demarcated as to and fro manner since each of the factors is dependent on each other. The motive of using the triangle implies that the three factors of individual behavior, personal factors relating to cognitive events, and the existing environment could bring a mutual impact on each other. The basic theory behind all these is that both the human and his sustaining environment are interdependent and the slight change of any one of the factors would disturb the whole system.

The inner ability or the confidence of a person to arrange or commence an activity so that he could attain his ultimate motive or target could be defined as self-efficacy. It has been observed that the individual who retains very strong confidence in commencing any assigned or desired task has a higher standard of efficacy belief. It is this mental state or the belief that makes a strong impact on the emotional reaction or choices made on the personal level, motivating yourself towards the common cause, specific patterns, etc. and hence are deemed to have the potential to make an evident influence over the target to be attained the due course of life (Bandura, 1977).

If taken the example of a person with a very level of confidence, it could be observed that he would tackle the obstruction faced while commencing the difficult task in a very proficient and effective manner rather than being perceived as a threat as a majority of the person in the society do. A well confident person always tries to raise a margin or higher target for themselves so that the level of excellence could be attained in a particular work or subject. The confident people tend to shoe perseverance even they fail multiple times in attaining the same objective, and never think of aborting their effort or mission. The factor of high self-efficacy is very crucial in the context of attaining the accomplishments at a personal level resulting in a very reduced level of depression, stress, or any sense of vulnerability towards the environment.

Though the case is not similar in the case of people who are shy or have very low self-efficacy. The people coming under this division would always avoid the tasks which have substantial risks or could pose any challenge to the comfort level in which the person is currently situated. It has been observed that the people or the individuals with very low self-efficacy are not willing to give their maximum effort and would easily give up their efforts if the condition is even a little bit hostile. This sort of person would easily doubt their competence and even the occurrence of failure is not important in this perspective. The individual having very less self-efficacy would give up to depression and emotional outbursts very easily (Bandura, 1994).

Various approaches could be taken to boost the self-efficacy of the person of which fur are the most prominent one. They are - Emotional arousal, performance accomplishment, verbal persuasion, and vicarious experience.

The four major methods to boost self-efficacy
It is the various experiences of the success and failures from the perspective of the individuals that contribute to being the personal proficiency and hence plays a very crucial step in the ideology of the performance accomplishments. Though the experience happened to a particular individual has the potential to create a perspective among the audience towards the same event and there is a high probability that the same could be perceived differently by another particular person. If taken the relevant example, the person who has faced a similar instance of success in the same activity, the expectation of self-efficacy from that person would be higher. Similarly, if the person has faced repeated failure rather than success in the same activity, he is expected to have very little self-efficacy in the same context. It could be hence understood from the above-provided content in this report on the reciprocal determinism case study that the personal mastery in a particular context could only be augmented through the activity of self-instructed performances, performance desensitization, participant modeling, and performance exposure. It should be noted while taking into this context in the account that the occurrence of the aversive behavior is strongly related to pleasant or comforting experiences.

It is while the people commence the detrimental and threatening activities without any subsequent consequences that the occurrence of the vicarious experience happens in the human mind. The level of the self-efficacy could hence be boosted by the presence of vicarious experience since it would make the person confident that the high-risk activities could be commenced successfully without any particular setbacks if a little precaution is taken beforehand. It is only by the live means or symbolic means that the factor of vicarious experience could be increased among the individuals.

The activities of catchphrase, self-instruction, and suggestion could be focussed upon among the intended people by the implementation of the vicarious experience principles. The actions which could be tagged under the category of vicarious experiences would make it clear to the public that any activity, to whatever limit it is deemed to be daunting, is doable with a little self-determination. The symbolic modeling or live methodology could be used to improve the Vicarious experience.

The process of subduing or suppressing the high emotional outbursts or feelings like stress, fear, and agitation is the main ideology of self-efficacy. These activities are focussed to be controlled because they have the potential to decrease the overall performance, generate aversive behaviors, lack of success, etc. The practice of various symbolic exposure, if being repeatedly implied, could help the individuals in controlling the official stress, imply various relaxation techniques, and symbolic desensitization which would eventually help in regulating the emotional arousal (Bandura, 1977).

Understanding Human Behaviour
Social Learning Theory: The theory of social learning is considered to be one of the major theories in the development and learning of human behavior and was proposed by Albert Bandura. As mentioned in the earlier section of this report on reciprocal determinism case study, human behavior is not only impacted by the direct reinforcement or influence and hence the factor of social dynamics should also be included in the study (Ewen, 2003, p. 367). As per the results from his personal experience, Bandura has stated that the research on the topic should be based on the practical occurrence and the approach of observational learning which could also be termed as modeling.

Observational Learning: The most appropriate way of learning an untouched topic is by accepting the approach of observation which would reveal the practical occurrence. In a fil, students of preschool have been displayed with an adult’s aggression towards the doll which was an experiment conducted by Bandura in his Bobo doll reciprocal determinism case study. The adult was observed to be assaulting the Bobo doll by using a hammer and the displayed film had three different climaxes. In the first version, the person who assaulted the doll was awarded for his activity. In the latter climax, which was displayed to a separate section of students, the person was displayed to be punished for his activity. In the last climax, the person was not responded with either awards or punishment and was left alone without any response. After the display of the film, the students were encouraged to play with a Bobo doll. It was being detected that the students who have viewed the film with the ending of awarding the person tended to attack the Bobo doll fiercely, and as expected, the students who were displayed with the ending of punishing the person had shown very less interest in assaulting the doll (Ewen, 2003, p. 373). Hence from the experiment of Bobo doll reciprocal determinism case study, it could be observed that human behavior would majorly rely on the conclusions made at the individual level through his observation.

Through his exclusive study, Bandura has revealed three different models of observational learning (Cherry, 2010).

  • The verbal form of model which would help in decoding human behavior.
  • The figurative or symbolic model which would majorly rely on the fictional character that comes under the literary works like films, books, and television. This model would help in revealing a certain genre of human behavior.
  • The live model could explore the specific type of behavior at a personal level.

The Modelling processes: It is quite hard to scrutinize every behavior displayed by the individual and hence a lot of traits would get unnoticed. Thus, it has been revealed by Bandura in his reciprocal determinism case study that the observer should possess certain qualities so that the modeling process should be implied very successfully (“Social Learning Theory,” 2008). These qualities are listed down in the below section of this reciprocal determinism case study.

Retention: The observer must have a good memory so that he could retain the knowledge acquired during the observation. It would get very handy when the observer starts recording all the information for analysis.

Attention: The major information would get unnoticed if the person has very little attention and observation skills.

Motivation: The researcher or the observer would acquire crucial knowledge regarding the subject only if he has a strong motive or any reason to pursue it. The consequences because of the failure of operation or researcher, or the merit regarding its successful commencement are the major motivation related to the act. If there is a good reward for the commencement of the act, the participant would get more fervent in pursuing the same task (this act could be tagged under the ideology of vicarious reinforcement). Though if the procedures entailed in the whole act is required to be followed strictly, the supervising body should levy some punishments (This activity could be classified under the ideology of vicarious punishment).

Self-regulatory system: In the attainment of self-development at the individual level, the theory of the self-regulatory system put forward by Bandura plays a very significant role. The base of the coherent actions could be strengthened by the self-regulatory system. As per the ideology of social cognitive theory, the principles of motivation and self-influence are implied by the individuals to control or modify their behaviors. Three elements are being taken into consideration in the system put forward by Bandura, which is: - self reaction, self-monitoring, and analysis of an individual's behavior. All three elements discussed in the above section of this reciprocal determinism case study play a very crucial rule in the process of self-regulated learning.

Self-monitoring system: In the case of personal instances, the individuals try to control their activities by relying on the performances as a general parameter. To control and predict their activities, a detailed analysis of the past and present occurrences are done. Though it should also be noted that the self-monitoring process of a person could be influenced by the present mood, self-belief, and thought process of the person. If a person has conducted a detailed self-observation, the future planning to attain the preferred target would be very easy. In the Social Cognitive Theory of Self-Regulation put forward by Albert Bandura, some factors which could directly impact the process of self-monitoring could be observed. Such factors are listed down in the below section of this reciprocal determinism case study.

Successes or failures: If the person witnesses the repeated success in a particular activity, similarly his behavior towards it would be considerably confident though the approach of the person would be entirely different in the case of repeated failures. It would be very discouraging for the person if he faces repeated failure in a specific activity.

Self-diagnostic function: A specific pattern in each person could be observed if the behavior, thought processes, and emotions are analyzed very thoroughly. The behavior and other related factors could be well influenced by the factors present in the social environment. The data collected from the case study would help in desired positive changes at both the societal and individual levels. It has been observed that the changes which have been focussed on after the analysis of pattern displayed by the person, were very positive in the overall perspective. If the real pattern followed by the individual and the factors which have the potential to change his behavior is analyzed, the role of the factors like the output from the daily performance, emotional thought process and motivation could be understood.

Motivational level: In this perspective, the factor of self-motivation could be considered very significant and heavily weighted determinant. A relatively high target is to be set by the individual to augment his performance and thereby ascertaining a relative progress in the efficiency. The occurrence of unrealistic self-observation is being traced in most of the persons with low motivation.

Self-motivating function: It has been observed in many instances that the people who keep the strict track of their daily activity display the high probability of determining higher targets. This activity would ensure that the person would augment his performance in the near future and thus could attain higher goals. An external motivation, in this case, is not required or necessary since all the progress would happen involuntarily. There has been no progress observed in the people who have made no effort in tracing their regular activities. The occurrence of depression is much larger in such a section of the demography since they are being outperformed by most of the people.

Judgment of Behaviour
It is in this stage that the individuals conduct a detailed analysis and compare their present proceedings, behavior, and actions with that of the past ones by keeping in mind the personal parameters and the factors existing in the operating environment. Though the person could have attained a better level of performance, to attain satisfaction in the outcome, he should have completed a personal set of goals. The personal goals of a person are customized as per the requirements and taste of the person and described very elaborately in the ideology of self-regulation and social cognitive theory. Let us have a detailed outlook on the below-provided content in this reciprocal determinism case study for an in-depth understanding.

Personal Standards: This parameter is being set by the individual by referring to a standard person or the individual who has created a good influence over society. It doesn’t matter how well the person has performed well in the task, he would get mental satisfaction only if the performance has gone beyond the parameter set by another guy. The behavior of such guys would also make an impact on personal targets. It is based on the standards set by the person that the whole activity is being analyzed.

Social referential comparisons: In this approach, the performance of the person is compared to that of others. It is to the personally set standards that the individual would compare his standards. It is after this process that the person would move on with the comparison with the performance of others. The human mind always tends to compare his performance with the people who are working in the same field.

Valuation of activities: This approach is another crucial element in the process of analysis and judgment. If the subject has a very weak link or has very little relevance to the person, he would entail it with very little importance. It is basic human nature that he would not engage in the subjects which are not important for him.

Self-Comparisons: The past time performance of the individual itself is taken into consideration as a parameter for comparing the present performance. It is the previous achievements and the awards attained in the past time which is taken as reference for the progress towards the self-growth. The personal outlook of a person is to always outperform his previous records.

The act of self-reaction happens when the individual already has conducted a comparison between the present performance and the pre-determined standards. In most cases, an individual is motivated towards pursuing an activity that would bring him a sense of accomplishment. The presence of self-incentives and consecutive rewards would help the person in sustaining his motivation. It is mentioned in the article of “The Self system in reciprocal determinism” published by Albert Bandura that the person would sustain high motivation in a particular activity if there would be a subsequent reward or profit associated with it. The same factor would motivate him towards providing an extra effort to attain the determined target. If the person would maintain the system of self-incentive, there is a high probability that he would leave behind all his contemporaries in the matter of performance. Though it should be noted the system of self-incentive must be implied strictly, and hence the person should award himself only after attaining the change in behavior or surpassing the decided target. For most of the employees in the corporate world, it is the self-satisfaction that matters for them the most rather than the material rewards. It is dependent on this parameter of satisfaction that the factor of self-reaction relies upon.

Application of Reciprocal Determinism
We have discussed some substantial observations regarding the human thought process in the above section of this reciprocal determinism case study. It has been observed that the ideology of reciprocal determinism is widely implied in around 25 countries. Because the topic of reciprocal determinism is now a crucial element of the cross-cultural boundaries, it could be justified that the same theory has widened its scope to a broad variety of fields. The major fields in which the ideology of reciprocal determinism is widely implied include - clinical psychology, child development psychology, and corporate or industrial psychology. In the below section of this reciprocal determinism case study, it is being elaborately discussed on how the theory is utilized in the activities of leader subordinate relationship, learning process, workplace, etc. The theory of reciprocal determinism has contributed a lot to the field of medical practices related to mental disorders.

If observed the employee environment in the corporate world, you could note that the theory of reciprocal determinism entails a lot of significance in the same atmosphere. It is based on the motivational level of the employees that the efficiency and the resultant performance of the whole organization depend upon. The personality of the individuals along with the working environment of the company also makes a significant impact on the performance of the company. It has been opined by Sims and Manz in the year of 1984 that the resultant behavior of the leader would majorly rely on the subordinate behavior and motive behind the performance. To conduct the analysis process in both the direction of subordinates and leaders, the theory of reciprocal determinism is utilized.

The relevance of reciprocal determinism in the field of physician-client relationship has been well explored in the work published by Makoul in the year of 1988. Majorly, there are two types of patients: - self-reliant and physician reliant, from which it could be understood that the latter division would be highly dependent on the guidelines of the doctor as compared to the former one (Makoul, 1998). The process of reciprocal determinism is implied in the background of mental disorder treatment when the doctor tries to understand and relate to the thought process of physicians. The thought process of the patient should be brought in alliance to the direction as intended by the doctor to make his involvement much more in the process of treatment.

Major issues with reciprocal determinism
In the due course of time, the major issues have been revealed in the implication of reciprocal determinism. Though if conducted an analysis of the statement made by Bandura regarding the reciprocal determinism, it could be noted that the ideology existed way before in the field of science. It is in the form of functional laws that the principles of reciprocal determinism exist in the natural sciences. The approach of the cause and effect relationship could trace in the field science but the essence of reciprocal determinism could be traced in the interactions of variables. The same ideology could be traced in the statement by the biologist, J.S. Haldane that “surroundings and organisms successfully act and react to one another” (Life and Mechanism as cited by Phillips & Orton, 1983). The idea of reciprocal determinism could be traced 90 years even before Bandura has revealed it. It could be observed that the Granted Haldane has stated the similar principles way before Bandura had proposed the reciprocal determinism case study.

In the close encounter, it could also be noticed that the scope of reciprocal determinism is very narrow and hence it is irrelevant in many sections. As mentioned in the previous section of this reciprocal determinism case study, the factors of behavior, situation, and person are linked with each other. The determinant of interactions is very crucial in this context, which could be limited to unidirectional casual relationships. The human interactions are much more unidirectional and the occurrence of multidimensional interactions at the same is very rare. This is the main reason that the reciprocal determinism principles are applied in a unilateral approach. The approach of reciprocal determination is an utter failure in the triadic relationship.

It could be concluded from the above provided reciprocal determinism case study that the theory fails in explaining the thought process of the human mind and his behavior pattern. Only the subjective aspect and infinite regress are discussed under the reciprocal determinism but the reason behind it or the aspect of “why” is not even covered on a nominal basis (Phillips & Orton, 1983). Hence it could be perceived that though reciprocal determinism is very effective, certain negative aspects also prevail in its implication.


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