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SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY OF MASS COMMUNICATION (2-16) Bandura Introduction - Social cognitive theory provides an agentic conceptual framework within which to examine the determinants and mechanisms of the effects of mass media on society o The psychosocial mechanisms through which symbolic communication influences human though - Social cognitive theory explains psychosocial functioning in terms of: o Triadic reciprocal causation o In this transactional view of self and society the following forms operate as interacting determinants that influence each other bidirectionally: Personal factors in the form of cognitive, affective and biological events Behavioral patterns Environmental events - Social cognitive theory is founded in an agentic perspective – people aren’t just reactive organisms shaped by environmental events or inner forces but they are: o Self organizing o Proactive o Self reflecting o Self regulating - Embedded in social systems are: o Human self development o Adaptation o Change - Thus, personal agency operations within a broad network of sociostrucutral influences - In these agentic transactions, people are: o Producers and products of social systems Personal agency and social structure operate as codeterminants in an integrated causal structure rather than as a disembodied duality (refer to figure) - Perspective views human nature as vast potentiality that can be fashioned by direct and observational experience into a variety of forms within biological limits - Distinguishing mark of humans is their endowed plasticity – however it is not saying they have no nature or they come structureless but: o The plasticity is intrinsic to the nature of humans and depends upon neurophysiologic mechanisms and structures that have evolved over time These advanced neural systems specialized for processing, retaining, and using coded information provide the capacity for the very capabilities that are distinctly human: Generative symbolization Forethought Evaluative self regulation
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Reflective self consciousness Symbolic communication Symbolizing capability - Social cognitive theory gives a central role to: o Cognitive, vicarious, self regulatory, and self reflective processes - Capacity for symbolization provides humans with the ability to comprehend their environment and create and regulate environmental events - External influences affect behavior through cognitive processes rather than directly - Cognitive factors partly determine: o Which environmental events will be observed o What meaning will be conferred on them o Whether they leave any lasting effects o What emotional impact and motivating power they will have o How the information they convey will be organized for future use - Symbols allow people to process and transform transient experiences into cognitive models that serve as guides for judgment and action o Through symbols, people give meaning, form, and continuity to their experiences by operating symbolically on information derived from
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This note was uploaded on 03/17/2009 for the course COMM 3210 taught by Professor Craig during the Fall '08 term at Colorado.

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