Provide a brief explanation of cognitive dissonance.

Social Cognitive Theory.html

Social Cognitive Theory

Cognitive theorists suggest that the interaction between an individual and the environment involves human beliefs and cognitive competencies that are developed and modified by social influences and structures within the environment. When we grasp the relationship between our environment and our behaviors, we are able to better predict our responses and future behaviors and, in turn, modify our behaviors.

A key figure in motivation is Albert Bandura. In 1977 he became dissatisfied with the way in which leading theories of the time (e.g., psychoanalysis, behaviorism) ignored the role of cognition in motivation. Hence, he developed the Social Cognitive Theory that places a clear emphasis on the way in which cognitive, personal, behavioral, and environmental factors interact to determine motivation and behavior (Crothers, Hughes, & Morine, 2008).

Within the theory, Bandura asserts, are four processes that lead a person to attain his goals: self-observation, self-evaluation, self-reaction, and self-efficacy. These components are interrelated and each has an effect on motivation and goal attainment (Redmond, 2010).

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In short, Social cognitive learning Theory views motivation as a function of individuals’ thoughts rather than some instinct, need, drive, or incentive as examined by Freud, Hull, and Maslow. Through the lens of social cognitive learning theory, there are six motivational constructs that have been classified into three broad categories including individuals’:

  • perceptions about their ability to accomplish a task,
  • purposes or reasons for getting involved in a task and,
  • the techniques used to integrate information (King, 2012).