Social-cognitive approach

Social-cognitive approach








  • The human being is a source of activity, composed of cognitive elements (expectations, schemes, perceptions, self-efficacy, or thought)
  • They ignore the biological bases of the phenomena they study.

  • Its purpose is the relief and/or elimination of human problems.
  • The study of the social origins of behavior and the role of socialization agents in its development and conformation of the behavior of the adult human being.
  • It is based on the fact that the human being can modify his psychological way of being and that this changes throughout life.
  • Interest in personality development from childhood.






  • It emphasizes people’s expectations of events and beliefs about themselves: their ability to handle the tasks and challenges presented to them in particular situations.
  • Situational specificity of the person’s expectations and beliefs; If it were not to discriminate between situations, the same would be done in all of them.
  • Variety of discrimination between situations and how each one sees the situation is highly idiosyncratic; For one it can be threatening and for another exciting.


The person’s ability to solve problems and fight or face the problems of life. More than the traits, these theorists emphasize the aptitudes that are manifested in what the person does. These skills involve both the ways of thinking about problems and the behavioral skills to solve them. And also in specific contexts.


  • They are related to people’s ability to anticipate the future and motivate themselves.
  • Goals guide a person to set priorities and choose between situations.
  • Goals lead us to go beyond the momentary to organize our lives.
  • The goals are not fixed.


The behavior is maintained through expectations or anticipated consequences, rather than just immediate consequences.

In terms of motivational processes, two concepts stand out:

  • The assumption is that people have internal models for evaluating their own behavior and that of others.
  • These models represent goals to be achieved and are based on expecting reinforcement from others and oneself.
  • The self-reinforcement process is of great importance to maintain behavior for long periods, in the absence of external reinforcers.

In the importance they give to goals: they indicate the human capacity for forecasting as well as the ability to anticipate successes and prepare plans properly. “ Most of the motivation is cognitive”

People will vary in the models they prepare for themselves: some set challenging goals, others easy goals, specific goals, others ambitious goals, others prefer close goals, and others long-term…

But it is the satisfaction of the desired commitments and the dissatisfaction of an insufficient achievement that offers incentives to one’s efforts in all cases.

In short, people are active, rather than reactive, that is, people prepare their own models and goals and not only respond to the demands of the environment.

Instead of depending on external motivations and rewards, one can set one’s own goals and reinforce oneself for them.

Between internal models and self-reinforcement, considerable self-regulation of functioning is reached.


  • The behavior differs depending on how this situation is interpreted.
  • The essence of personality lies in the different ways in which individuals perceive situations and in the behavior patterns established according to these differences in perceptions.
  • Individuals act differently in different situations
  • Individuals have stable and distinctive profiles when expressing particular behaviors in specific situation groups behavioral signals (they behave the same in the same type of situation) intra-individual stability.

The global self-concept is criticized: self-efficacy beliefs change depending on the situations or activities to which they refer.




The expectation of the locus of control internal-external reinforcement control

  • Internal: The reward is contingent on one’s own efforts and enduring characteristics.
  • External: Rewards and their earning are outside of personal control: they depend on circumstances or other people.

The IE scale is an inventory of items to assess the expectation of control in a differentiated number of behavioral areas (achievement, social recognition, affection).


reciprocal determinism

Causal interaction between three types of variables: subject-behavior-environment (situation ) is the cause of psychological phenomena.

  • Human beings can think and regulate their own behavior.
  • It does so in contexts of personal interaction, the study of the psychological processes that occur in social interaction.


The complex system of cognitions provides reference mechanisms and a set of subfunctions aimed at perception, assessment, and behavior regulation. These influences of the self-regulatory system are always deliberate.

There are three subsystems in self-control Image of self

      • Self-observation: own observation of actions, tendencies, tasks, and cognitive and affective processes of personal functioning.
      • Prosecution processes: personal norms, and social referents; that are taken into account when assessing the result of the action: attribution style.
      • Self-response: Personal reactions to the observation of the performance and the judgment (self-assessment, consequences towards oneself)

The subject’s image of himself will depend on the result of this process. This system makes it possible to intervene at each of the points of the process.


  • Self-efficacy perceived ability to cope with specific situations.
  • Self-perceptions of self-efficacy influence patterns of thinking, motivation, performance, and emotional arousal.
  • Bandura proposes microanalytical research to assess self-efficacy.

The effects of self-efficacy on motivational processes are :

    • Selection: Self-efficacy beliefs influence the goals that the individual chooses, that is, people with high self-efficacy choose more challenging goals than those with low self-efficacy.
    • Effort, persistence, and performance: People with high self-efficacy showed greater effort and persistence and performed better on the task than those with low self-efficacy.
    • Emotion: people with high self-efficacy focus their work in a better state of mind (less anxiety and depression) than those with low self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Coping: Individuals with high self-efficacy are better able to cope with stress and disappointment than those with low self-efficacy.

Sources of self-efficacy expectations:


  • Performance achievements: These are the successes or failures that the individual has had in experiences of personal mastery.
  • Vicarious experience: influence of other people’s behaviors or achievements on our experiences (social comparison). Self-efficacy expectations induced by simple modeling are weaker and more vulnerable than those determined by personal achievement. The effects of modeling are stronger the more the model resembles us.
  • Verbal Persuasion: Reasoning and Suggestion; for the person to change her beliefs in a positive sense.
  • it is established only in the direction of the expectations of results.
  • Emotional arousal: The intensity or type of emotional experience informs the subject of his competence in the task.
  • High anxiety indicates to the subject his personal inability or incompetence in performing the task.

It is the cognitive appraisal of activation that determines the level and direction of the coping action or behavior.

The change techniques are: attribution (attributing different thoughts and feelings to those that are thought to be situational aspects, changeable or not)

-Muscular relaxation techniques or biofeedback.

-Symbolic desensitization.


It is more convenient to talk about personal variables than personality variables.

There are 5 personality variables ;


  • Aptitudes: indicate what a person can do (physical and interpersonal skills, knowledge, and behavior). There are individual differences in both the magnitude and quality of cognitive and behavioral patterns.
  • Coding strategies: ways of conceptualizing or classifying events; there are individual differences.
  • Expectations: they suppose the anticipation of a future event and relates the possible behavior and its consequences. Two types of expectations are related to specific stimuli, signs, or clues to certain events: the presence of these signs “predicts” what is going to happen, and those related to Self-efficacy Expectations: which are based on personal confidence in being able to execute a task. determined action.
  • Subjective values: individual differences in appreciations or estimates of the results of an action.
  • Self-regulatory systems and plans

Mischel’s conclusions :


  • Stability and consistency of the image that one has of oneself and the world.
  • Personality traits do not have consistency or trans-situational stability (through different situations)
  • Behavioral distinctiveness or specificity situational determination of actions.
  • Consistency is an illusion of humans (for Mischel it doesn’t exist) to make it easier to understand reality.
  • Behavioral signals distinctive profiles that individuals have of the situation-behavior relationship.


BUZZBONGO  we are here to serve society through a virtual environment that enables people who wish to develop their personal and professional skills in fields related to finance ,administration, business and the economy to share and acquire knowledge.