Essays in Education


This essay explores the controversial hypothesis of reciprocal determinism, a subset of the Social Cognitive Theory developed by Albert Bandura, Ph.D. The hypothesis suggests that external forces likely influence the behavior of an individual, and in turn, the individual reshapes (reciprocally) society in an escalading cycle of manipulation and modification. Diverse perspectives are gathered from seminal books and peer-reviewed journals in an attempt to substantiate or conceivably refute the notion that mass media, the Internet, video games, and other forms of one-way and interactive technology may be stirring aggressive behavior (by way of modeling), as well as desensitizing children and adolescents to real violence that occurs in everyday life.

While some developmental theorists claimed that measurable modifications in human behavior are brought about by internal (biological) or external (societal) forces that are equally perpetual and inescapable, others argued that recipes of both cognitive and innate factors comprise the essential ingredients that shape the ego, define the personality, or influence reflective choices individuals will make throughout their lifetime. Because theories are devised to seek explanations for the seemingly inexplicable, theorists continue to proffer formidable arguments in support of their unique research. While this essay threads together selected past and ongoing literature about a disquieting social phenomenon, the intent was not to produce new evidence on the matter, except that predicting outcomes of human behavior continues to evade scientific certainty.

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