Sunday, March 31, 2013

Current Event #4: Social Learning Theory

Learner Objective: Explain social learning theory making reference to relevant studies

Article: Toddlers Beat the Great Apes at Social Learning
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=DC374F21-E7F2-99DF-39889C0916C47A34

Summary:
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have been studying the connection between apes and humans.  They compared the skills of two & half-year-old children to those of chimps and orangutans ranging in age from 3 to 21 years old.  They found that children and apes are equally good at numerical and spatial skills, but when it comes to social learning (social learning theory) the children were far better than the apes.  For example, toddlers learned how to open a container by watching the experimenter and copying them.  However, the apes didn't imitate.  They made connections but for the most part used trial and error.  The researchers explain that imitation is a fast way to aquire knowledge and allowed humans to develop the complex social culture we have today.  This article relates to class and the social learning theory by further explaining the work done by Bandura.

Reflection:
I thought this was a great article to use because as I said before, it further explains Bandura's theory and also gives more recent information.  I find it very interesting that there is so much similarity between apes and humans so this article also fulfilled some personal interest as well.

Visual #4:

I thought this picture was helpful to the article.  This shows a human child and ape both eating.  From this picture it appears the ape is also still using his fingers in addition to the spoon but it also shows that the ape and human child are both able to use utensils, an action learned from parents. 

http://www.bagofnothing.com/2007/01/the-ape-and-the-child-study/

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