The social cognitive theory refers to a psychological model of behavior that emerged primarily from the work of Albert Bandura. In today’s psychological science, people are viewed as biological, psychological, and social organisms which entail thoughts, emotions, behaviors and social factors (Meyer, 1996). The social cognitive theory is a learning theory based on the idea that people learn by watching what others do and that thought processes are central to understanding personalities (. Since a fair amount of learned behavior that influenced our development, displayed in the environment in which one grew up, and as individuals, thoughts and feelings were just as important in determining moral development. Three main factors influencing our development is by observing others, with the environment, behavior, and cognition all as the main factors in influencing our development. These three factors don’t stay the same or independent; rather, they are all reciprocal. We learn many of our behaviors by observing others and modeling our behavior after theirs (that’s the social part). What we think about our situations affects our behavior (that’s the cognitive part).
One the environment refers to the factors that can affect a person’s behavior. There are two types environment the social and physical environment. The social environment includes family members, friends and colleagues. The physical environment could be a room, the climate, the availability of certain foods, or the landscape, just to name a few. These factors play a part in affecting our behavior. Situations refer to the cognitive or mental representation of the environment that may affect a person’s behavior. The situation is a person, perception of the time, activities or physical features. The cognitive part also deals with moral competence of an individual which is defined as the growth of cognitive sensory processes. Simply put, it is being aware of what is considered right or wrong.
Behavior and people are constantly influencing each other. Behavior is not simply the result of the environment, just as the environment is not simply the result of the behavior. But the environment does provide models for behavior. Modeling sample in observational learning is when a person watches the actions of another person and imitates that action. The social cognitive theory is that we tend to model or copy what we observe. The situations we find ourselves in is processed and shaped in our minds. What the social cognitive theory focuses on how we and our environment interact.
MEANINGFUL DEFINING MOMENT
My defining moment was one of great significance to me. I believe that moment saved my life, because if I would have continued down the road I was going, I wouldn’t be here to write this paper today. I really thank God for that defining moment day of when I decided to follow Christ and how he delivered me from alcoholism. I really I don’t remember the exact date when my journey began with Christ. I had a lot of problems in my life: drinking problems, social problems, marriage problems, and many more. They didn’t fall off right then and there when I accepted Christ, but they all would gradually fall off as I continued to follow Him. Being around the people in the church put me in a different environment that I started to model. The old environment was not a good one for me because the people there were getting high and drinking. But soon I was able to stand my ground even in that environment. Like I said before the corrupt things in my life started to fall off, things started getting better and my wife and I started serving together in the church. We started taking our children to church every Sunday and through the week as a family. There were still some other things that needed to fall off, like the alcoholism, which still had its evil grip on me, even as I worked and served in the church. A few other corrupt things still had their paws in me too, but I stayed around the church, and kept going because I knew there was hope there in God for me. My children, my wife and I kept going to the church and growing closer together. I believe, no, I know that’s what kept us together. The word of God taught me how to love and appreciate life, and the things that I had in life like my wife family and other close friends. I learned how appreciate whatever I had at the time as a blessing from God, because the church taught me that there were some less fortunate than my family and I. I had a roof over my head and there were some people who didn’t even have that, those who were homeless.
Now to get back to the struggles that I had while still in the church. I began to feel that something was wrong with me and that everyone else seemed to have their life together in God with no problems. Others seemed victorious in their Christian walk and perfect. But I still had negative thoughts attacking my mind compared to the perfect people. My wife began singing in the church before I started playing the guitar there. I thought that since she had been raised in church and because her parents were pastors, that she had an edge over me with the church thing. Although that wasn’t the case, I still had my problems to process. This went on for a while like a few years, but I still battled with my alcoholism and did seek help. I don’t really remember how many rehabs I entered, but I know it was more than two probably three or four, but I really don’t remember. My issues with rehabs were because I felt they were the same as alcoholism, bondage, but just a different type, one to meetings. They were telling me that I would have to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for the rest of my life. One of the last rehabs I attended asked this question: Do you know anyone that has made it without attending AA meetings or any other, drug-related meeting? He said it was possible, but very rare like only two out of every two thousand individuals. That scared me, but I stated that I would just have to be one of the two. So one evening while we were attending church service, a prayer line began and I went and asked for prayer for my alcoholism. The lady that prayed for me used to have a problem with alcohol and drinking. As she laid her hands on me and prayed for God to deliver me from the grip of alcoholism, my response to her was that I was scared and had been fighting this thing a long time. I also said that I didn’t want to take another drink. She responded that everything would be all right and that God would take care of it, so not to worry because it was gone. That very same night I went to buy a drink, and when I reached to pay for it, I got very sick at counter of liquor store. Afterwards, I went home and got in the bed, but was still feeling sick and very weak. I went to the bathroom and passed out. My wife convinced me to go to the hospital because I was literally bleeding from every opening, from my nose, mouth, and other places. That night at the emergency room, I remembered lying there, waiting for them to care for me and the doctors checking on me through the night asking me several questions. Finally, the next day, like five o’clock in the morning they scheduled many tests. The doctor explained that he had to look inside, so he took a long tube with a camera, started down my throat and looked around and around but couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I asked where the bleeding came from, but he said he didn’t see anything. They asked me if I did drugs or drank to get high, and I responded yes. The doctor again said to me, “I don’t see anything that could be causing you to bleed internally.” So when they discharged me, they gave me instructions not to get high or drink anymore. Why did they give me these instructions? I don’t know to this day forward, but after receiving them, I never got high or took another drink.
Now that one major problem that I had was eliminated, I could go forward in the things of God. Remember what I said I thought something was wrong with me. My thinking was that I had to be perfect. I soon learned that the people who were around me in that environment weren’t so perfect after all. I learned that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but wants us to be willing to do right things. Afterwards, my mindset changed and I realized that I didn’t have to be perfect, and I celebrated deliverance from alcoholism. I gladly played the guitar with my wife during church services, taught Sunday school, and participated in a number of other things. There’s much more to this story, but I can’t share all the details, because it would take longer than I have to tell it.
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED
The social cognitive theory speaks about observation and modeling. There’s one part in my defining moment paper that shows an example that I would like to further clarify. Being around the people in the church put me in a different environment that I started to model. There were some things they were doing in the church that I liked, and respected. It’s called observational learning when a person watches the action of another person and imitates it and learns from that observation making it a part of their behavior. There were also some cognition things going on. Like the part I wrote in my paper about how I felt that something was wrong with me. Even though it was not true, in my mind it was. I wrote that I began to feel that something was wrong with me and that everyone else seemed to have their life together in God with no problems. But having those thoughts and feelings affected my behavior toward others, which was another cognitive and behavioral factor. The main cognition was the moral thoughts. My thought processes were that I needed help. Staying at the church was good for the environmental setting of the church played a part to impact my thinking. Moral performance of the people in the church was influenced by possible rewards and incentives to act a certain way. Another cognitive process was that the people seem to have a peace of mind and that was one of my incentives.
The conclusion is that people do have the ability to influence their own behavior and the environment in a purposeful, goal-directed fashion. The focus of the social cognitive theory is how we and our environment interact.