Biography of Albert Bandura

Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925, hi Mundare, a small town on the plains of northern Alberta. He grew up the only boy in a family of five older sisters. Both parents had emigrated from eastern European countries while still an adolescent—his father from Poland and his mother from the Ukraine. Bandura was encouraged by his sisters to be independent and self-reliant. He also learned self-directiveness hi the towns thiy school that had few teachers and little resources. His high school had only two instructors to teach the entire curriculum. In such an environment, learning was left to the initiative of the students, a situation that well suited a brilliant scholar like Bandura. Other students also seemed to flourish hi tins atmosphere; virtually all of Bandura s classmates went on to attend college, a very unusual accomplishment during the early 1940s.

After graduating from high school, Bandura spent a summer hi the Yukon working on the Alaska highway. This experience brought him into contact with a wide variety of fellow workers, many of whom were fleeing creditors, alimony, or their draft board. In addition, several of his coworkers manifested various degrees of psychopathology. Although his observations of these workers kindled in him an interest hi clinical psychology, he did not decide to become a psychologist until after he had enrolled hi the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Bandura told Richard Evans (Evans, 1989) that his decision to become a psychologist was quite accidental; that is, it was the result of a fortuitous event. In college, Bandura commuted to school with premed and engineering students who were early risers. Rather than do nothing during tins early hour, Bandura decided to enroll in a psychology class that happened to be offered at that time period. He found the class fascinating and eventually decided to take a psychology major. Bandura later came to consider fortuitous events (such as riding to school with students who were early risers) to be important influences hi people s lives.

After graduathig from British Columbia in just 3 years, Bandura looked for a graduate program in clinical psychology that had a strong learning theory base. His advisor recommended the University of Iowa, so Bandura left Canada for the United States. He completed a master's degree hi 1951 and a PhD in clinical psychology the following year. Then he spent a year in Wichita completing a postdoctoral internship at the Wichita Guidance Center. In 1953, he johied the faculty at Stanford University where, except for 1 year as Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, he lias remained.

Most of Bandura's early publications were in clinical psychology, dealing primarily with psychotherapy and the Rorschach test. Then, hi 1958, he collaborated with the late Richard H. Walters, his first doctoral student, to publish a paper on aggressive delinquents. The following year, their book, Adolescent Aggression (1959), appeared. Since then, Bandura has continued to publish on a wide variety of subjects, often hi collaboration with Ins graduate students. His most influential books are Social Learning Theory (1977), Social Foundations of Thought and Action (1986), and Self Efficacy: The Exercise of Control (1997).

Bandura has held more than a dozen offices hi prestigious scientific societies, including president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1974, president of the Western Psychological Association in 1980, and honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association hi 1999. In addition, he has received more than a dozen honorary degrees from prestigious universities throughout the world. Other honors and awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from Division 12 (Clinical) of APA in the same year, the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution from the APA in 1980, and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the Society of Behavior Medicine. He was elected fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 1980. In addition, he has won the Distinguished Contribution Award from the International Society for Research on Aggression; the William James Award of the American Psychological Science for outstanding achievements hi psychological science; the Robert Thomdike Award for Distinguished Contribution of Psychology to Education, American Psychological Association; and the 2003-2004 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the Institute of Medichie of the National Academy of Sciences. Beginning hi 2004, the American Psychology Society, hi partnership with Psy Chi—The National Honor Society in Psychology—began awarding an outstanding psychology graduate student with the Albert Bandura Graduate Research Award. Bandura currently holds the David Starr Jordan Professorship of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University.

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