Vicarious reinforcement and imitative learning

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The present experiment was designed to study the influence of response-consequences to the model on the imitative learning of aggression. Nursery school children were assigned randomly to 1 of the following groups: aggressive model-rewarded; aggressive model-punished; a control group shown highly expressive but nonaggressive models; and a 2nd control group which had no exposure to models. The children were then tested for the incidence of postexposure imitative and nonimitative aggressive responses. Children who witnessed the aggressive model rewarded showed more imitative aggression and preferred to emulate the successful aggressor than children in the aggressive model-punished group who both failed to reproduce his behavior and rejected him as a model for emulation. Control over aggression was vicariously transmitted to boys by the administration of aversive stimuli to the model, and to girls by the presentation of incompatible prosocial examples of behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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