Albert Bandura, Leading Psychologist of Aggression, Dies at 95 – The New York Times

He was most known for his Bobo doll experiment, in which children mimicked adults in attacking an inflatable doll. The work challenged basic tenets of psychology.

Dr. Bandura in 1999. In a 2002 survey, he ranked fourth among the most-cited psychologists of the 20th century, behind Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner and the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget.

Albert Bandura, a psychologist whose landmark studies on aggression are a staple of introductory psychology classes and whose work on the role of people’s beliefs in shaping their behavior transformed American psychology, died on Monday at his home in Stanford, Calif. He was 95.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his daughter Carol Bandura Cowley said.

Dr. Bandura, a native of Canada who joined the Stanford University faculty in 1953 and remained affiliated with the university until his death, was widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists of his time. In a 2002 survey, he ranked fourth among the most-cited psychologists of the 20th century, behind Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner and the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget.

His social cognitive theory of human functioning emphasized people’s capacity for self-reflection and personal agency, and his extensive writing and research contributed to the understanding of personality formation, cognition, morality and the treatment of mental disorders like phobias. His theory of self-efficacy — people’s belief in their own competence and ability to exert control over their behavior and social environment — has been widely applied across many areas, including education, public health and drug and alcohol abuse.

But Dr. Bandura was most widely recognized for a series of laboratory studies — collectively known as the Bobo doll experiment — that he carried out with two colleagues at Stanford in the early 1960s

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