What Does Social Learning Mean in Psychology?


Jane Flores

Social learning is a concept in psychology that refers to the process of learning through observation and interaction with others. It is a vital part of human development, and it plays a significant role in shaping our behavior, beliefs, and values. In this article, we will explore what social learning means in psychology and its importance.

What is Social Learning?

Social learning theory was first proposed by psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1960s. According to this theory, people learn by observing the behavior of others and the consequences of those behaviors. This type of learning is not limited to direct observation but can also occur through media such as books, movies, or television.

Examples of Social Learning

One common example of social learning is children imitating the behavior of their parents or siblings. For instance, if a child observes their parent always putting on shoes before going outside, they may learn to do the same thing. Similarly, children may learn aggressive behavior from watching violent movies or playing violent video games.

Another example is how people adopt certain beliefs and values from their peer groups or society at large. For instance, if someone grows up in a culture where punctuality is highly valued, they may adopt this value as well.

The Importance of Social Learning

Social learning plays an essential role in shaping our personalities and behaviors. It helps us acquire new skills and knowledge that we might not have learned otherwise. Social learning also helps us avoid making mistakes by observing others’ experiences.

Moreover, social learning provides us with an opportunity to develop empathy for others’ experiences. When we observe someone else’s behavior and understand why they acted that way, we can better understand their perspective and empathize with them.


In conclusion, social learning is a crucial aspect of human development that allows us to learn from others’ experiences through observation and interaction. It helps us acquire new skills, develop empathy, and understand the world around us. By acknowledging the importance of social learning, we can become more aware of our behaviors and the impact they have on those around us.