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Behavioural and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jan 12th, 2020


The social cognitive theory forms an explanation of human behaviors in terms of dynamism or reciprocating models where there is interaction between the personal factors, behavior and the environment. Self efficacy is one of the key aspects for explaining the psychological dynamics for promoting behavior. Self-efficacy is the ability to take an action confidently in the aim of promoting behavior. The expectations of self-efficacy determine people choices and engagements.

Expectations also establish the amount of energy one need to engage in a given activity and persistency requirements. Various theories indicate that generally, for any given activity, the level of self-efficacy depends on the individual’s participation. A person view his/her performance or success as an aspect that is solely dependent on personal ability, complexity of a task, efforts placed or external influences such as the environmental factors. Performance has a direct relation to self-esteem, personal control abilities and behavior.

Social/Cognitive Theory

The social/cognitive theory is a wider explanation of an individual understanding over the emotional aspects or personal conduct in the aim of perceiving the changes involving personal behaviour. Secondly, the theory provides support for researching new behavioural changes especially in the health sector.

The main aim of the social/cognitive premise is to present an explanation regarding how people acquire and maintain their unique cognitive behavioural patterns. These behavioural changes depend on various factors such as personality, actions or the environment.

The environment is the habitat for a person and it influences the behaviours of a person. The environment is either social setting such as the family that is made of relatives or friends who are the main influences. The environment is also the physical presentation such as the magnitude of the houses, temperature or nature of the food. Both the physical and social environments are the basis for an individual’s influence over development of behaviour.

According to Friedman and Schustack (2006), the living situation and the environment provide the foundation for understanding the behavioural pattern of a person. The situation is the social/cognitive or the mental perspective of the environment that may affect behaviour. The factors that manipulate behaviours are therefore an influence to each other. One of my personal habits is ability to keep up communication within the family setting.

The habit occurs consequently through observing the existing models within the setting, specifically emulation of the parents and grandparents behavioural patterns. The parents and grandparents are the key influences to the formation of the habit and by observing them; I garner important ideas over performance procedures and importance of a habit such as proper communication. The acquired idea represents coded information for use during later occasions.

Future latent actions depend on the emulated behavioural aspects especially when one gathers the habit at a young age. In keeping with the social cognitive theory, the inner forces or eternal stimuli do not control the habit. Cognitive, behaviour and the environmental events interoperate to give feeling that it is important to communicate constantly with the family members especially to know their status and engagements especially the offspring.

Formation of habit using the social/cognitive approach

The theory forms a good foundation for the design of health related behavioural programs because it is an explanation of the procedures for acquiring and maintaining particular behavioural outlines, especially for the formation of personality. It is also a basis for development of strategies for intervention.

Every human individual possess a self-recognition system that enables him/her to have a means of measuring control of thoughts, actions or feelings. The personality system consists of the ability to symbolize, learn from other people especially the role models, have a plan of alternative strategies to solve challenges, engage a means of regulating personal behaviours and ability to engage the personal reflection over matters.

Social cognitive theory equally plays a vital role in provision of referential mechanisms for recognizing, evaluating and normalizing behaviour. This means that there is an interaction between the self-conceptualization system and influences form the external sources, which determine a situation. This self-evaluation system therefore enables one to regulate functions and provide individuals with the ability to alter or determine the environment that influences their actions or decisions.

Components of social/cognitive theory

Developed by Professor Albert Bundara in 1960’s, the social cognitive theory creates a point of surveillance over how the human beings use observation techniques to study other’s habits in the process of learning. The components form the master plan for the formation of a habit (John el at, 2008).

The components of the theory therefore first include the learning process. According to (Friedman and Schustack, 2006), the theory indicates that people learn vicariously by observing the activities and behaviours of other people.

For instance, I observe or try to understand the experience of my parents and grandparents who have various successful engagements or have had experiences and ability to resolve various challenging situations. Observing that others have successful undergone the transformation can assist to achieve goals. Learning that the partner’s or friend’s influences matter is equally a transformational contributory factor.

The second component is the cognitive procedure. The social cognitive theory also depends upon the elements of mental involvements to understand the importance of successfully implementing the behaviour that one acquires. Cognitive approach assists in construction of personal views of reality and the procedures of coping with the surrounding world. Interaction with other people who have similar life experiences enables one to bring about the reality of existence.

Thirdly, the aspects of self-efficacy calls for personal believe and need for an engagement through following an experience or learnt activity especially form the role models (Friedman and Schustack, 2006). One engages the urge for the behavioural change. There is urgent need for one to have a self-regulating mechanism.

After learning behaviours from others, self-guideline system enhances the continual practice of the conduct especially for the need to overcome the external forces. Self-regulation is concern with how one fights the limitations or hindrances to acquisition of behavioural patterns. Lastly, one need to understand the issues related to the social cognitive theory. The theory can perfect procedures of reversing negative behaviours that cause unhealthy or unwanted outcomes.

Behavioural theory

The strength of a habit predicts and forms an influence over change of behaviour. The possibility to engage certain behaviour depends on the habit formation towards performance of the behavioural pattern, the intention for the performance, and the conditions requirements for facilitation of the behaviour.

In line with (Friedman and Schustack, 2006), the behavioural personality theory indicate that repeated behaviours turn out to be progressively more of a routine with little or no conscious control. The fact that one has to have an intension over participation, the key determinant of behaviour is the repeated action over various occasions to ensure it becomes a habitual process.

Formation of habit using the behavioural approach

The main strategy that influences personal involvement and need to retain the open communication habit are the agents of socialization. In a close relation to (Laurent, 2008), over the behavioral personality theory, the agents of socialization are the aspects influencing behavior and the need to keep up the personal image such as by experience.

The family is a key agent with the highest impact to behavior of an individual. According to Laurent (2008), “from the infancy stage, most people solely rely on parents who are the primary caregivers for the basic necessities…”

They therefore emulate their actions and behaviors to mold their own, which are later, strengthened thorough self-concepts. The environment introduces new and unique knowledge, bureaucracy and experiences that pressurize performance but the old habits remain strongly imbedded in one’s behaviors. The behavioral theory therefore best describes my personality of having a self-conceptualization towards achieving the set goals.


Personal attribution of a situation or tasks determines the personal feelings, and thus the amount to efforts to engage for the given task, for instance attributing failure to low personal ability or complexity of a task worsens the situation.

On the other hand basing effects on performance to the external factors such as luck motivates one to continue the search for success, therefore various aspects influences the behavioral patterns of performance. Attitude is a direct influence to behavior. The behavior is a function that determines one’s intention as an aspect that is very specific and dependent on first-hand experiences.


Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2006) Personality: classic theories and Modern research, Massachusetts, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon

John, O. P., Robins, R. W., & Pervin, L. A. (2008) Handbook of personality: theory And research. New York, NY: Guilford Publishers

Laurent, H. (2008). Personality: How to Build It. Maryland, MD: Wildside Press LLC

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Behavioural and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits." January 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/behavioural-and-social-cognitive-approaches-to-forming-habits/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Behavioural and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits'. 12 January.

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