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Should Professional Sports People (Such As Afl Footballers, National Cricketers) Be Role Models?

2310 words - 10 pages

Should professional sports people (such as AFL footballers, national cricketers) be role models? In this context, consider the role of observational and social learning, and what role they are modeling. Make sure that you primarily address psychological rather than sociological aspects of being a role model.

Sport has always been a fundamental principle of Australian Society. The social and cultural roles of sport have provided Australians with unity as well as a sense of patriotism. Our interest in sport has not only contributed to expanding our “national consciousness” but was also a factor towards federation in 1901 (Cashman, 2003). Currently, almost 70 per cent of Australians engage ...view middle of the document...

The strong Australian Sports Culture amalgamated with the inappropriate actions of Australian Rules Footballers creates a catastrophic vortex of bad behavior for young boys who look up to these men.

It is almost certain that when a footballer steps out of line there will be ample media coverage on the topic and “Kids… will definitely take their cue from their heroes on TV” (Ziemer, 2000). If a footballer acts out in an aggressive manner young boys are more likely to display this negative behavior, which is confirmed by Bandura’s bobo doll experiment in 1961. Banduras experiment highlighted that a child’s actions are dependent on the way the model acts, and in most cases they will replicate the modeled behavior without any reinforcement (Piotrowski, 2010). To test his hypothesis, Bandura used a life-size clown doll, also known as the “bobo” doll to stimulate certain behaviors among the children. Adult models were instructed by Bandura to act violently around the bobo doll specifically by hitting it with a hammer or kicking it. To try and stimulate this behavior among children, Bandura then showed a video of the model acting violently towards the doll then allowed the children to play with it. Those children who had observed the adult hitting or kicking the bobo doll acted similarly and exactly imitated their behavior (Parish, 2009). Bandura’s experiment can be used to explain the imitated behavior of young children from sportsmen as they vicariously learn to act in the exact same way as their role models. Whether these sportsmen are taking drugs or acting violently, children will assume that it is appropriate to behave in that way and are more likely to emulate their behavior creating a realistic representation of Banduras bobo doll experiment.
Observational Learning is made up of four components which include; attention, retention, reproduction and motivation (Bandura, 1977 p22-24). All children that were taught through observational learning to act aggressively developed their actions through these processes.

The attention component of Observational Learning is dependent on whether individuals “perceive and attend” the features of the modeled behavior (Isom, 1998). In doing so they are active and alert and “attending to what the aggressor is doing (Isom, 1998) if they are going to reproduce the models behavior (Allen & Santrock, 1993: p. 139). In Banduras experiment, the children would have to witness the Bobo doll being physically abused by the model in order to imitate those actions.

The Retention component of Observation Learning is dependent on whether the individuals code the information in their long-term memory (Isom, 1998). This allows for the information to be retrieved at a later date as the child is able to retrieve what they saw happening to the doll (Allen & Santrock, 1993: p139). It is an important process because the child became aggressive with the bobo doll due to the coding and storage in their memory...

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