The author, Albert Bandura, explains the different impacts mass communication has on the society. Mass communication has grown over a long period to impact both negative and positive effects to its audience. The social cognitive theory is used to explain the psychosocial effects of media that vary from one person to another. Bandura has established that human behavior is affected by the surrounding environment that establishes various characters based on the personality of an individual. The social changes and adaptation to the changes are determined by the social systems established in one society. The theory centers the effects of media on cognitive, self-reflective processes, vicarious and self-regulatory aspects of human behavior. Symbolization is considered a tool that equips a person to regulate, understand and adapt to the environmental aspects that affect his or her life. Cognitive as a characteristic helps an individual to view the important objectives of any environment. The tool enables a human being to make rational decisions depending on their surroundings. Each aspect of nature affects the outcome of human behavior and in that sense needs to be viewed with a sober mind through the application of symbols. Symbols vary in their applications because they offer different meanings to an outcome or message relayed.
Bandura has explained that self-reflective capabilities also have an effect in determining human decisions. Each person has his way of reacting to different changes in the environment. A strong human self-reflective character will enable a person to make rational decisions based on his proper understanding of the various symbols used to communicate any message. This tool has its influences from inactive verification and vicarious verification. The person is advised to make decisions based on properly gathered data and the activities of others. Inactive verification requires that a person relies on his knowledge of information and outcome of the action before making any decision. Vicarious verification enables a person to observe the decisions made by others and their outcomes before taking a step in doing the act. Social cognitive theory has established that human beings do not need to work on personal levels but as a collective to achieve the set goals they cannot attain while working individually. Vicarious capability on its part is related to the psychosocial theories where human beings learn from the actions of others. The other elaborates that where humans were to acquire knowledge and skill based on responses; it will be hazardous and tiresome to the individuals. Vicarious capability is recommended as a solution to the learning process as it shortens the process and enables the continuation of the society. The tool is considered advantageous as compared to self-reflective. It prevents the trial and error steps that are time-consuming and expensive to the society.
The author recommends the use of observational learning as a model to study and understand the social cognitive theory. The observational learning model comprises of four sub-functions that govern it in its application. The sub-functions are processes of attentional retention processes, production processes and motivational processes. The attentional processes entail the determination of information and model selected changes that vary a human decision. The model is affected by human characteristics like preconceptions, cognitive skills and the value inclinations of the observers. The major human characteristics are cushioned by other elements like attractiveness, salience, and functional value of the model, the structure of human interactions and networks of associations. Coding of the symbols presented determines the remembrance of any event. Preconceptions will determine whether the decision made is biased or not depending on an individual’s perception about it. In the social cognitive theory, the modeled symbols also influence the society as propagated in the retention processes. The retention process is boosted through using of symbols that trigger the memory to retain any information of events occurred. In the production processes, the author has stated that comparative of events and their outcomes have determined the human behavioral characteristics. The cognitive process is supplemented by transformational and generative operations that vary skills to determine the decisions made of the event. The motivational processes differentiate performance from acquisition in the social cognitive theory. The performance attribute of observational learning is influenced by self-produced, vicarious and direct. The fourth sub-functional has further elaborated the influence of people based on the success and failures of others.
Construction of social reality also has an influenced the society to bend its ideologies that portray social relations, human nature, norms and structures of the society. Vicarious actions of the people in the society have determined the manner in which decisions are made. Human behavior in the society is prompt socially. The models to improve human social behavior are documented in laboratories and field studies. Society industries like taste and fashion depend on modeling to promote their products. People in any given social setup use different products based on the advertisement used by the companies of prominent persons to attract them to purchase the merchandise. Theories of mass communication have used a two-step diffusion process to influence the outcome of the society. Most influential people have taken ideas from the media and challenged the information to their followers who view it an authoritative and ending up influencing the society setup.
The social cognitive theory is a theory of societal advantage. The theory has established different approaches set out to explain the impacts of mass communication on the society. The four levels of sub functional governing observational learning. The different processes have elaborated extensively how media effects have been an influence in the behavior of persons. An example is the use of prominent persons to advertise products and services of given businesses. The influence of the people to the society will determine the behavior of the targeted society to either adapt to the recommended promises or decline the invitation to treat.
Social cognitive theory elaborates how personal perceptions, social structure and society norms interact to determine the behavior of the individual.
The use of personalities to advertise in TV shows is an emerging practice in media advertisements. The different service and product providers have used the approach to influencing decisions of individuals in the society. The social cognitive theory has established the manner in which decisions of persons are influenced in the social setup. The decisions can be determined vicariously, through self-reflective and self-regulation. A person can observe the influence a given service or product has affected a prominent person and make a decision depending on the effect. Where the effect is positive, he can decide to try the service or product for his benefit. Where effects are negative, he can decline the offer. Such vicarious effects have determined the behavioral characteristics of the society. Mass communication advertisement models have mutated to persuade the manner in which the society can interact upon intensive studies and research.
Social cognitive theory models towards observational learning have been applied by the advertisers to determine the outcome of a behavior change. Before a business role out a product and service, it undertakes studies on the targeted market. The processes like attentional, retention, production and motivational are applied while selecting the specific advertiser to market a given product or service. Attentional equips the company with the information about the targeted audience to enable it deliver the right message that will change the perception of the society. Retention incorporates symbols that the audience can remember and relate within the social setup. It influences the society behavior through a sense of belonging. Production supports the two aspects through vicariously set out outcomes and channels the expected information. Lastly, motivation ensures the society is experiencing the anticipated results, and they keep on adhering to the newly adopted changes of behavioral characteristics.
Prominent persons should be barred from advertising products. The use of such personalities has impacted the changes in society negatively at the long run. People get persuaded to change their views concerning different aspects that impact on society. The different personalities have the persuasive powers on their followers that end up affecting how the society changes.
When each propagates for an idea in the society, there will be a group of different persons with varying views on a given service, product, and norm. The society will have conflicts of interest on views and changes that each group will propagate to be followed.
The society needs to be given a chance to make its decision based on the models supporting social cognitive theory. The proper ways of fighting such approaches of advertisement should be through the drafting of legislation. Laws should be established that limit and control the manner in which advertisements are carried out to prevent social conflicts.
The use of prominent persons to advertise products, services and norms in the society have had a personal influence on me. The different personalities have influenced my opinion on certain issues that surround me within any social setup. An example is where I find attracted to the product advertised by a prominent person unlike that of an advertiser whom I do not know. The manner of advertisement makes you persuaded to use a given service or product.
The media has been a great impact on my personal life. I get agitated when an individual tries to persuade me to incline to their views that are not suggested by the person I admire. This has been a challenge to my personal relationship with other individuals in the society. The effect has been boosted by the admiration I have over the personality of the advertiser.