The Social Cognitive Theory, also known as SCT, is a socio-psychological theory that explains how people learn and develop through their interactions with the environment. This theory was first proposed by Albert Bandura in the 1960s and has since gained widespread acceptance in the field of psychology.

Key Components of Social Cognitive Theory

According to SCT, there are three main components that influence human behavior: personal factors, environmental factors, and behavioral factors.

Personal Factors

Personal factors refer to an individual’s cognitive processes, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. These internal factors shape how people perceive and interpret the world around them. For example, a person’s self-efficacy (the belief in one’s ability to achieve goals) can greatly influence their behavior.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors refer to the physical and social surroundings that individuals encounter. This includes things like family dynamics, cultural norms, societal expectations, and media influences. Environmental factors can either encourage or discourage certain behaviors based on what is deemed acceptable or desirable within a particular context.

Behavioral Factors

Behavioral factors refer to an individual’s actions or responses to a given situation. These actions are influenced by personal and environmental factors but ultimately determine how an individual interacts with their surroundings.

Applications of Social Cognitive Theory

SCT has been applied in various fields such as education, health promotion, and organizational management.


In summary, the Social Cognitive Theory is a valuable framework for understanding how people learn and develop. By taking into account personal, environmental, and behavioral factors, this theory provides a comprehensive understanding of human behavior in various contexts. Its applications in fields such as education, health promotion, and organizational management demonstrate its relevance and usefulness.