A/A* Booster Session #3 – Line of Argument

This session is focused on the skills of both AO Q and AO3 and reaching top band focus and flow marks. It will be using an example of “Discuss the Social Learning Approach within Psychology” (16marks). The skills discussed, however, relate to any aspect of extended writing. Due to the nature of holistic marking in a 96mark paper it is impossible to say the actual marks/grades these would get, instead this reference the ‘typical’ writing style of someone who will achieve that grade overall.

Essay Plan

Instead of focusing on three extracts this time we took the essay plan below and tried to write it in different orders to see what effect it had on flow. We discussed the important for A* grades at seeing in implied conclusion and deciding on that before planning the essay.

Social Learning Theory

Line of Argument: SLT is the best theory for explaining human behaviour? SLT gives us little in terms of practical application? SLT has been able to explain behaviours no other approach can despite its flaws?


General Assumptions of a mixture of learning through behaviourism and cognitive.


  • Point (strength that it employs scientific and reliable methods)
  • Because (Bandura’s Bobo was a lab experiment with high levels of control replicated many times with similar results )
  • So What? (It allows us to establish a stong cause and effect link)
  • However? (This control leads to artificiality such as lack of mundane realism in modelling the beating of a Bobo doll which could lead to demand characteristics)

Bandura Bobo Doll including terms imitation, modelling, vicarious reinforcement


  • Point (limited by it’s over emphasis on nurture)
  • Because (what about universals such as partner preference? Which indicates and evolutionary basis)
  • So What? (Suggests SLT has limits to its application to all areas)

Meditational processes including attention, retention, motivation and self efficacy


  • Point (strength is it overcame one of the most serious limitations of behaviourism by introducing cognitive elements)
  • Because (this has allowed us to explain behaviours previously not considered well under classical behaviourism, such as aggression and phobias without direct experience)
  • So What? (It also led to developing modelling based therapies and teaching methods)

  • Point (acknowledges the role of both free will and determinism)
  • Because (whilst it argues we are determined to learn through observation and imitation of role models there is a choice involving self efficacy and motivation to actually perform the behaviours)
  • So What? (Bandura argued reciprocal determinism, that we are both influenced and in return influence our environment.

  • Point (SLT is good at explaining cultural differences)
  • Because (it can explain why Margaret Mead found the aggression and gender differences in tribes of Papua New Guinea due to different cultural role models )
  • So What? (Showing us how important models are to children and how cultural norms are passed on.)


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