Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Social Learning Theory

  • Stanley SelingerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_57

Name of Theory

Social Learning Theory


Social cognitive theory


Social learning theory builds on behavioral and cognitive theories of learning and provides a model that accounts for the wide range of learning experiences. This theory illustrates how observing others can play a vital role in how we acquire new knowledge and skills. For social learning theory, biological factors are important, but not as important as learned observable behaviors.

Prominent Associated Figures

The structure of the theory is attributed to Albert Bandura (1963, 1969, 1977; Bandura and Walters 1963). His theoretical work was based on modeling and aggression studies. Neal Miller and John Dollard wrote the book Social Learning Theory which was a reinterpretation of psychoanalytic theory in terms of stimulus-response factors. Julian Rotter wrote Social Learning and Clinical Psychology (1954). He emphasized the holistic interaction between the individual and the environment.



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family InstituteEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA