Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication

Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. Media Psychology, 3(3), 265-299.

Social cognitive theory provides an agentic conceptual framework within which to analyze the determinants and psychosocial mechanisms through which symbolic communication influences human thought, affect and action. Communications systems operate through two pathways. In the direct pathway, they promote changes by informing, enabling, motivating, and guiding participants. In the socially mediated pathway, media influences link participants to social networks and community settings that provide natural incentives and continued personalized guidance, for desired change. Social cognitive theory analyzes social diffusion of new styles of behavior in terms of the psychosocial factors governing their acquisition and adoption and the social networks through which they spread and are supported. Structural interconnectedness provides potential diffusion paths; sociocognitive factors largely determine what diffuses through those paths.

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