What is Reciprocal Determinism & What Are its Three Components?

It is a concept which was initially suggested by the psychologist, Albert Bandura who states that reciprocal determinism is a model based on three different factors. These factors influence behavior, environment and the individual. According to his theory, the behavior of an individual is influenced by both the external social world and the person’s personal characteristics. 

The following model states that all three components are in direct interaction and can have a reciprocal effect on each other. Just as much as the environment plays a significant role in influencing the behavior of a person, similarly the behavior of a person can influence the environment. 

A great example of the modern-day are children getting schooled by educationists. It is up to the parents how they believe they can change the behavior of their children based on the type of environment they give them. A harsh environment can have quite a detrimental effect on the child’s personality and at the same time, a happy environment can have a positive impact on the child. 

The reaction of a person is not only because of his associations and learning but it greatly depends on several other factors such as thoughts, emotions, feelings and how he/she interacts with the world. 

What is the Concept of Behavior Component?

The behavior component of reciprocal determinism sheds light on the fact that the actions/reactions of an individual are commonly based on their cognitive processes. In short, it indicates that whatever happens to an individual, it happens because of the behavior of the environment on the individual. 

For example, if a student hates visiting the school every day, it is because he is not that fond of the environment. Maybe, it is because of his non-cooperative teachers and classmates which stops him. Their actions are what decides how the student may feel about them and take action or reaction. 

What is the Concept of Environmental Component?

Whereas, the environmental component is basically dependent on the physical surroundings which involve the individual. Most environments are created in such a way that they influence the intensity and frequency of the behavior just like the behavior itself can have an impact on the environment. 

For example, if a student gets lashed out by an instructor for gossiping in the classroom, it not only has a detrimental effect on him but it will also disturb the entire environment of the classroom. 

What is the Concept of Individual Component?

When we talk about individual components, they include all the necessary characteristics which have been fairly rewarded in the past. These components can involve a number of factors which may involve personality and cognitive ones. Personality and other related factors can play an important part in how a person behaves.

For example, if a student knows that the teacher is more likely to give him something that is sort of rewarding, then the student can wait until the end of the school and act out accordingly. Here the individual was motivated by his own self instead of the environment or other people’s behaviors.

In Concluding Thoughts

Hence, Bandura concludes that a person’s behavior can be conditioned based on the consequences. This particular theory reveals the perfect shift from the behavioral perspective to a more social-cognitive approach to understanding behavior.

According to most psychology experts, the environment is what shapes the individual behavior of a person. However, this particular statement is not exactly true. there lies a bidirectional relationship between the three components discussed above. And that’s what lays the foundation of the entire reciprocal determinism.

This suggests that while people are certainly affected by the things they experience in their environment, they also have the power to exert a change in their situation and circumstances through their own choices and behaviors.

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