Albert Bandura Quotes

His thoughts on self-efficacy, social learning, social cognition, and more

Albert Bandura portrait from 2005
Albert Bandura, 2005. Albert Bandura / Wikimedia Commons / (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Albert Bandura is best known for his theory of self-efficacy and his work in social learning, including the famous "Bobo doll" experiment. In addition, Bandura served as President of the American Psychological Association in 1974 and continues to research and teach at Stanford University. Below are just a few quotations from Bandura's writings.

Albert Bandura Quotes on Self-Efficacy

  • "Self-efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations."
    From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, 1986
  • "If efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people can do routinely they would rarely fail but they would not set aspirations beyond their immediate reach nor mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances."
    From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
  • "Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure."
    From Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1997
  • "By sticking it out through tough times, people emerge from adversity with a stronger sense of efficacy."
    From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
  • “People's beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failure; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.”
    From Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1996

    Albert Bandura Quotes on Social Cognition

    • "A theory that denies that thoughts can regulate actions does not lend itself readily to the explanation of complex human behavior."
      From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, 1986
    • "People not only gain understanding through reflection, they evaluate and alter their own thinking."
      From Social Foundations of Thought and Action, 1986
    • "People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as inefficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it."
      From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory., 1986
    • "People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided."
      From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
    • "We are more heavily invested in the theories of failure than we are in the theories of success."
      From APA address, 1998
    • "Once established, reputations do not easily change."
      From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 1994
    • "Gaining insight into one's underlying motives, it seems, is more like a belief conversion than a self-discovery process."
      From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social-Cognitive Theory, 1986
    • “Psychology cannot tell people how they ought to live their lives. It can however, provide them with the means for effecting personal and social change.”
      From Social Learning Theory, 1977
    • "Success and failure are largely self-defined in terms of personal standards. The higher the self-standards, the more likely will given attainments be viewed as failures, regardless of what others might think."
      From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social-Cognitive Theory, 1986

    Sources:

    Bandura, A. (1996). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control.New York: Freeman.

    Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice-Hall series in social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

    Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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