Social Learning Theory & PhobiasWatch
Is it merely just observing a role model who avoids certain stimuli and therefore we imitate them by avoiding the same stimuli which accounts for irrational phobias? Or is there more to the explanation?
Basically, in a nutshell, behaviour can be learned though Observational Learning, observing behaviour, and then imitating that behaviour.
E.g. young children imitating things their parents do.
We then had to talk about the effect of punishment and reinforcement.
If behaviour is rewarded, it is more likely to be imitated. If behaviour is punished, it will be less likely to be imitated.
Indirect Reinforcement is when a person observes another persons behaviour, and the other person being rewarded. (Someone else)
Direct Reinforcement is when a person imitates a behaviour, and is rewarded for it themselves. (Yourself).
Indirect Punishment is when a person observes another persons behavior, and the other person is punished. (Someone else)
Direct Punishment is when a person imitates a behaviour, and is punished for it themselves. (Yourself).
Bandura did an experiment to test his theory on children. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobo_doll_experiment
Sorry if this wasn't what you were looking for. I just wrote the basics of what we got taught for our WJEC Psychology PY1 exam.
I hope that made a tiny bit of sense.