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Learning Theories
Rotter and Mischel: Cognitive Social Learning Theory
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I. Overview of Cognitive Social Learning Theory
Both Julian Rotter and Walter Mischel believe that cognitive factors, more than immediate reinforcements, determine how people will react to environmental forces. Each suggests that our expectations of future events are major determinants of performance.

II. Biography of Julian Rotter
Julian Rotter was born in Brooklyn in 1916. As a high-school student, he became familiar with some of the writings of Freud and Adler, but he majored in chemistry rather than psychology while at Brooklyn College. In 1941, he received a Ph.D.
in clinical psychology from Indiana University. After World War II, he took a position at Ohio State, where one of his students was Walter Mischel. In 1963, he moved to the University of Connecticut and has remained there since retirement.

III. Introduction to Rotter's Social Learning Theory
Rotter's interactionist position holds that human behavior is based largely on the interaction of people with their meaningful environments. Rotter believes that, although personality can change at any time, it has a basic unity that preserves it from changing as a result of minor experiences. His empirical law of effect assumes that people choose a course of action that advances them toward an anticipated goal.

IV. Predicting Specific Behaviors
Human behavior is most accurately predicted by an understanding of four
variables: behavior potential, expectancy, reinforcement value, and the psychological situation.
A. Behavior Potential
Behavior potential is the possibility that a particular response will occur at a given time and place in relation to its likely reinforcement.
B. Expectancy
People's expectancy in any given situation is their confidence that a particular reinforcement will follow a specific behavior in a specific situation or situations. Expectancies can be either general or specific, and the overall likelihood of success is a function of both generalized and specific expectancies.
C. Reinforcement Value
Reinforcement value is a person's preference for any particular reinforcement over other reinforcements if all are equally likely to occur. Internal reinforcement is the individual's perception of an event, whereas external reinforcement refers to society's evaluation of an event. Reinforcement-reinforcement sequences suggest that the value of an event is a function of one's expectation that a particular reinforcement will lead to future reinforcements.
D. Psychological Situation
The psychological situation is that part of the external and internal world to which a person is responding. Behavior is a function of the interaction of people with their meaningful environment.

E. Basic Prediction Formula
Hypothetically, in any specific situation, behavior can be predicted by the basic prediction formula, which states that the potential for a behavior to occur in a particular situation in relation to a given reinforcement is a function of people's expectancy that the behavior will be followed by that reinforcement in
that situation.

V. Predicting General Behaviors
The basic prediction is too specific to give clues about how a person will
generally behave.
A. Generalized Expectancies
To make more general predictions of behavior, one must know people's generalized expectancies, or their expectations based on similar past experiences that a given behavior will be reinforced. Generalized expectancies include people's needs-that is, behaviors that move them toward a goal.
B. Needs
Needs refer to functionally related categories of behaviors. Rotter listed six broad categories of needs, with each need being related to behaviors that lead to the same or similar reinforcements: (1) recognition-status refers to the need to excel, to achieve, and to have others recognize one's worth; (2) dominance is the need to control the behavior of others, to be in charge, or to gain power over others;
(3) independence is the need to be free from the domination of others;
(4) protection-dependency is the need to have others take care of us and to protect us from harm; (5) love and affection are needs to be warmly accepted by others and to be held in friendly regard; and (6) physical comfort includes those behaviors aimed at securing food, good health, and physical security. Three need components are: (1) need potential, or the possible occurrences of a set of functionally related behaviors directed toward the satisfaction of similar goals;
(2) freedom of movement, or a person's overall expectation of being reinforced for performing those behaviors that are directed toward satisfying some general need; and (3) need value, or the extent to which people prefer one set of reinforcements to another. Need components are analogous to the more specific concepts of behavior potential, expectancy, and reinforcement value.
C. General Prediction Formula
The general prediction formula states that need potential is a function of freedom of movement and need value. Rotter's two most famous scales for measuring generalized expectancies are the Internal-External Control Scale and the Interpersonal Trust Scale.
D. Internal and External Control of Reinforcement
The Internal-External Control Scale (popularly called "locus of control scale") attempts to measure the degree to which people perceive a causal relationship between their own efforts and environmental consequences.
E. Interpersonal Trust Scale
The Interpersonal Trust Scale measures the extent to which a person expects the word or promise of another person to be true.

VI. Maladaptive Behavior
Rotter defined maladaptive behavior as any persistent behavior that fails to move a person closer to a desired goal. It is usually the result of unrealistically high goals in combination with low ability to achieve them.

VII. Psychotherapy
In general, the goal of Rotter's therapy is to achieve harmony between a client's freedom of movement and need value. The therapist is actively involved in trying to (1) change the importance of the client's goals and (2) eliminate their unrealistically low expectancies for success.
A. Changing Goals
Maladaptive behaviors follow from three categories of inappropriate goals: (1) conflict between goals, (2) destructive goals, and (3) unrealistically lofty goals.
B. Eliminating Low Expectancies
In helping clients change low expectancies of success, Rotter uses a variety of approaches, including reinforcing positive behaviors, ignoring inappropriate behaviors, giving advice, modeling appropriate behaviors, and pointing out the long-range consequences of both positive and negative behaviors.

VIII. Introduction to Mischel's Cognitive-Affective Personality System
Like Bandura and Rotter, Mischel believes that cognitive factors, such as expectancies, subjective perceptions, values, goals, and personal standards, are important in shaping personality. In his early theory, Mischel seriously questioned the consistency of personality, but more recently, he and Yuichi Shoda have advanced the notion that behavior is also a function of relatively stable personal dispositions and cognitive-affective processes interacting with a particular situation.

IX. Biography of Walter Mischel
Walter Mischel was born in 1930, in Vienna, the second son of upper-middle-class parents. When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938, his family moved to the United States and eventually settled in Brooklyn. Mischel received an M.A. from City College of New York and a Ph.D. from Ohio State, where he was influenced by Julian Rotter. He is currently a professor at Columbia University.

X. Background of the Cognitive-Affective Personality System
Mischel originally believed that human behavior was mostly a function of the situation, but presently he has recognized the importance of relatively permanent cognitive-affective units. Nevertheless, Mischel's theory continues to recognize the apparent inconsistency of some behaviors.
A. Consistency Paradox
The consistency paradox refers to the observation that, although both lay-people and professionals tend to believe that behavior is quite consistent, research suggests that it is not. Mischel recognizes that, indeed, some traits are consistent over time, but he contends that there is little evidence to suggest that they are consistent from one situation to another.
B. Person-Situation Interaction
Mischel believes that behavior is best predicted from an understanding of the person, the situation, and the interaction between person and situation. Thus, behavior is not the result of some global personality trait, but by people's perceptions of themselves in a particular situation.

XI. Cognitive-Affective Personality System
However, Mischel does not believe that inconsistencies in behavior are due solely to the situation; he recognizes that inconsistent behaviors reflect stable patterns of variation within a person. He and Shoda see these stable variations in behavior in the following framework: If A, then X; but if B, then Y. People's pattern of variability is their behavioral signature of personality, or their unique and stable pattern of behaving differently in different situations.
A. Behavior Prediction
Mischel's basic theoretical position for predicting and explaining behavior is as follows: If personality is a stable system that processes information about the situation, then individuals encountering different situations should behave differently as situations vary. Therefore, Mischel believes that, even though people's behavior may reflect some stability over time, it tends to vary as situations vary.
B. Situation Variables
Situation variables include all those stimuli that people attend to in a
given situation.
C. Cognitive-Affective Units
Cognitive-affective units include all those psychological, social, and physiological aspects of people that permit them to interact with their environment with some stability in their behavior. Mischel identified five such units. First are encoding strategies, or people's individualized manner of categorizing information they receive from external stimuli. Second are competencies and self-regulatory strategies. One of the most important of these competencies is intelligence, which Mischel argues is responsible for the apparent consistency of other traits. In addition, people use self-regulatory strategies to control their own behavior through self-formulated goals and self-produced consequences. The third cognitive-affective units are expectancies and beliefs, or people's guesses about the consequences
of each of the different behavioral possibilities. The fourth cognitive-affective
unit includes people's goals and values, which tend to render behavior fairly consistent. Mischel's fifth cognitive-affective unit includes affective
responses, including emotions, feelings, and the affects that accompany physiological reactions.

XII. Related Research
The theories of both Rotter and Mischel have sparked an abundance of related research, with Rotter's locus of control being one of the most frequently researched areas in psychology and Mischel's notion of delay of gratification and his cognitive-affective personality system also receiving wide attention.
A. Locus of Control and Health-Related Behaviors
One adjunct of the locus of control concept is the health locus of control, and research in this area suggests that self-mastery of health and people's belief about their personal control over health-related behaviors predict subsequent health status. This body of research has included such health-related behaviors as smoking, abusing alcohol, and unwise eating. In general, this research indicates that people high on internal locus of control, compared with those high on external locus of control, are more likely to enact health-related behaviors.

B. An Analysis of Reactions to the O. J. Simpson Verdict
Mischel, Shoda, and two of their colleagues used the cognitive-affective personality system to analyze the verdict in the O. J. Simpson murder trial. They found that European Americans and African Americans had different ways of looking at the Simpson verdict. Although their reactions tended to follow along racial lines, participants' race itself was not as important as their thoughts and feelings in determining their reactions to the verdict. More specifically, European Americans who agreed with the verdict had thoughts and emotions very similar to those of African Americans who were elated by the verdict. Moreover, African Americans who disagreed with the verdict thought and felt much the same as European Americans who were dismayed by the not-guilty verdict.

XIII. Critique of Cognitive Social Learning Theory
Cognitive social learning theory combines the rigors of learning theory with the speculative assumption that people are forward-looking beings. It rates high on generating research and on internal consistency, and it rates about average on its ability to be falsified, to organize data, and to guide action.

XIV. Concept of Humanity
Rotter and Mischel see people as goal-directed, cognitive animals whose perceptions of events are more crucial than the events themselves. Cognitive social learning theory rates very high on social influences, and high on uniqueness of the individual, free choice, teleology, and conscious processes. On the dimension of optimism versus pessimism, Rotter's view is slightly more optimistic, whereas Mischel's is about in the middle.