The social cognitive theory is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the role of observational learning, self-efficacy, and cognitive factors in human behavior. While it is a popular theory in psychology, it does have its limitations. In this article, we will explore some of the key limitations of the social cognitive theory.

1. Limited Focus on Environmental Factors: One of the major limitations of social cognitive theory is its limited focus on environmental factors. The theory primarily focuses on individual cognitive processes such as attention, perception, and memory while neglecting the impact of external factors such as social norms and cultural values.

2. Limited Scope for Emotional Processes: Another limitation of social cognitive theory is that it places little emphasis on emotional processes. The theory emphasizes the importance of cognitive processes such as attention and memory but fails to account for the role that emotions play in shaping behavior.

3. Narrow Definition of Self-Efficacy: Social cognitive theory places a great deal of emphasis on self-efficacy – an individual’s belief in their ability to perform a specific behavior successfully. However, this concept is narrowly defined within the framework of social cognitive theory and fails to take into account other important factors that contribute to behavior such as motivation and personality traits.

Other Limitations:

In addition to these three major limitations, there are several other factors that limit the applicability of social cognitive theory:


While the social cognitive theory has been influential in psychology, it is important to recognize its limitations. By acknowledging these limitations, researchers can work towards developing a more comprehensive understanding of human behavior that incorporates both cognitive and environmental factors, as well as emotional processes.