How Is Social Cognitive Theory Used Today?


Martha Robinson

Social cognitive theory is a psychological concept that has gained increasing attention in recent years. It is a theoretical framework that explains how people learn and develop through observing others. Today, social cognitive theory is widely used in various fields, including education, business, and healthcare.

What is Social Cognitive Theory?

Developed by psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1960s, social cognitive theory posits that individuals can learn through observing others’ behaviors and the outcomes of those behaviors. In other words, people can acquire new knowledge and skills by watching others’ experiences. The theory also suggests that people’s behavior is shaped by their environment and personal factors such as beliefs, values, and attitudes.

How Is Social Cognitive Theory Used Today?

In education:

Social cognitive theory has significant implications for the field of education. Teachers can use this theory to create effective learning environments by modeling behaviors they want students to adopt. For instance, if a teacher wants students to be more respectful towards each other, they can model respectful behavior towards their students.

In business:

Social cognitive theory can help businesses optimize their training programs. By providing employees with opportunities to observe successful role models or peers performing desired behaviors, businesses can help employees adopt new skills more quickly.

In healthcare:

Social cognitive theory plays an important role in promoting healthy behavior. By modeling healthy habits like regular exercise or healthy eating habits, healthcare professionals can encourage their patients to engage in similar behaviors. Additionally, healthcare professionals can develop interventions based on this theoretical framework to help individuals overcome unhealthy habits.

Examples of Social Cognitive Theory in Action:

  • In schools: A teacher models good study habits by staying organized and managing time well.
  • In businesses: A manager trains employees on customer service skills by showing them videos of successful interactions.
  • In healthcare: A doctor encourages patients to quit smoking by sharing success stories of former smokers.


Social cognitive theory is a powerful tool that helps us understand how individuals learn and develop. By using this theory, we can create effective learning environments, promote healthy behaviors, and optimize business training programs. With social cognitive theory in mind, we can help individuals acquire new skills and adopt positive behaviors that lead to success in various areas of life.