Career at Stanford

In 1953, Bandura took a job as an instructor in the psychology department at Stanford University. He has remained at Stanford ever since, becoming a full professor in 1964. In 1974, Stanford awarded Bandura an endowed chair, a high honor in the academic world, and he became the David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology. The intellectual climate at Stanford has served Bandura well, providing eminent colleagues and bright students with whom to conduct research and exchange ideas.

Perhaps the first prominent colleague to influence Bandura at Stanford was Robert Sears, who was chairman of the psychology department when Bandura arrived. Among other things, Sears was studying child-rearing patterns that led to aggressiveness and dependency in children. Following this line of work, Bandura and his first graduate student, Richard Walters, began studying the family backgrounds of very aggressive delinquents. They discovered that one factor affecting aggression among teenagers was whether or not the teens' parents were hostile or aggressive. In 1959, Bandura and Walters published a book titled Adolescent Aggression, which described their research on this subject.

Bandura was struck by the seeming influence of parental role models on teenagers' aggressive behavior. He wanted to study this effect in more depth experimentally, but first he had to come up with a workable study design. The result was the now-famous Bobo doll experiments, which Bandura conducted with Dorothea Ross and Sheila Ross. In 1963, the findings from this research were summarized in a second book with Walters, titled Social Learning and Personality Development. Few areas of psychological research have ever captured the public imagination as well as the Bobo doll studies did. As Bandura told Evans, "When I'm introduced at invited lectures at other universities, the students place a Bobo doll by the lectern. From time to time I have been asked to autograph one. The Bobo doll has achieved stardom in psychological circles."

Of course, it was Bandura himself who was really the rising star. In 1964, in addition to being made a professor at Stanford, he was elected a Fellow of the APA. During the 1969-70 school year, he was awarded a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a center near Stanford that brings together scientists and scholars from around the world who show exceptional accomplishment or promise in their fields. In 1969, Bandura published Principles of Behavior Modification, the first important book in cognitive behavior therapy. In 1974, Bandura received his endowed chair at Stanford, and, during the 1976-77

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