I mentioned in a previous blog about using behaviorism in my dog training days as well as responding to it in my own life. There is also a funny episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon subtly uses behaviorism to “train” Penny. While behaviorism has the learner responding to cues and stimuli in the environment, cognitivism focuses on the mental process of learning and building upon previous knowledge. Piaget’s famous four stages of development is probably one of the best known representations of this theory. Knowledge is seen as schema which, according to dictionary.com, is an underlying pattern or structure. Everything is seen as patterns and as the individual’s brain is introduced to new things, stimulation of prior knowledge occurs and the person is able to interpret and add this new information to one of the existing schema thus changing it (until the next input of informational learning arrives). When I think of patterns and learning it brings to mind mnemonics, which of course brings up Keanu Reeves because he played Johnny Mnemonic. But I digress. I watched a wonderful video about memorizing Piaget’s four stages and it was based on mnemonics which can be watched here. Very creative help.
Albert Bandura’s Bobo doll experiments of 1961 and 1963 showed that modeling aggressive behavior resulted in aggressive actions by those witnessing it. With apologies to Piaget, I think Bandura’s experiments should get attention nowadays. I don’t wish to sound like Tipper Gore (who I’ll admit I thought was overreacting to violence in video games and music back in the 90s) kids today see violence in movies, video games, music videos, and TV. There has, and always will be violence, but as CGI and special effects have become more realistic via technology, the remakes of some movies out-gore the original. Even our news is basically a tally of shootings, terrorist attacks, and accidents with some weather and traffic thrown in. People are more aggressive for some reason these days. Take a man and woman who don’t know each other encountering each other in the line at Starbucks, they’ll be polite. Take the same two people, put them in cars on the highway, one of them running late, and they’ll be cutting the other person’s car off, possibly rude gesturing, etc. With 330 mass shootings in the US in 2015, which is almost one per day, what comes out is we all need to see kindness modeling. I am not trying to say there are not kind people. Throughout my cancer treatment I had total strangers coming up, some asking if they could pray for me, others asking if I needed help with anything, twice at Starbucks I had my drinks paid for by someone whom I did not know. There is good in this world and if using cognitivist Bobo doll modeling we could somehow get a good Bobo on the TV during halftime at Superbowl, imagine what could happen. On second thought the halftime show wouldn’t work, we need to repeat it, so maybe a kind Bobo doll commercial that keeps playing.