Albert Bandura is a famous Canadian psychologist who in a career of over 60 years has made important contributions in many areas of psychology. It is the fourth most cited psychologist of all time, after BF Skinner, Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget, is also the author of one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology, conducted in 1961 and entitled “Bobo doll.
Albert Bandura was born in Mundare, Alberta in 1925. He was the youngest of six children. Both of his parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. Dr. Bandura’s father worked as a track layer for the Trans-Canada railroad while his mother worked in a general store before they were able to buy some land and become farmers. Though times were often hard growing up, Dr. Bandura’s parents placed great emphasis on celebrating life and more importantly family. They were also very keen on their children doing well in school. His research with Walters led to his first book, Adolescent Aggression in 1959, and to a subsequent book, Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis in 1973.
During a period dominated by behaviorism in the mold of B.F. Skinner, Bandura believed the sole behavioral modifiers of reward and punishment in classical operant conditioning were inadequate as a framework, and that many human behaviors were learned from other humans. Bandura began to analyze means of treating unduly aggressive children by identifying sources of violence in their lives. Initial research in the area had begun in the 1940s under Neal Miller and John Dollard; his continued work in this line eventually culminated in the Bobo doll experiment, and in 1977′s hugely influential treatise, Social Learning Theory.Many of his innovations came from his focus on empirical investigation and reproducible investigation, which were alien to a field of psychology dominated by the theories of Freud.
Bandura has received more than sixteen honorary degrees, including those from the University of British Columbia, Alfred University, the University of Rome, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Salamanca in Spain, Indiana University, the University of New Brunswick, Penn State University, Leiden University, and Freie Universitat Berlin, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Universitat Jaume I in Spain, the University of Athens and the University of Catania.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1980. He received the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from the American Psychological Association in 1980 for pioneering the research in the field of self-regulated learning. In 1999 he received the Thorndike Award for Distinguished Contributions of Psychology to Education from the American Psychological Association, and in 2001, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattell Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Psychological Science from the American Psychological Foundation. In 2008, he received the Grawemeyer Award for contributions to psychology.