Albert Bandura’s Elements of Serial Dramas

“We don’t go in a country as outsiders to try to alter their culture. We come only on invitation. We have a crew that knows how to build serial dramas, but we work in partnership with the media in the country. They have to decide what kind of changes they want to make, and then we can help them as to how they can realize those changes. And then we insist that those models should respect the covenants of the U.N., namely human dignity… promote equality and opportunity… and… promote aspiration.” — Albert Bandura (Rippberger & Deml, 2017)


Exploratory violence effects (Rippberger & Deml, 2017, 00:06:33-00:09:00)

  • Effects of learned methods of violence
    “Damned Good Teacher… learn methods of violence…”
  • Effects restraints of violence in interpersonal relationships
  • Effects emotional learning
    learned likes, dislikes etc.
  • Effects public’s conception of reality
    societal structures, power relations, etc.

Psychological processes (Rippberger & Deml, 2017, 00:09:00-00:10:30)

  • Attentional processes
    determination of what is watched etc. (i.e., attraction)
  • Symbolic representation of modeled behavior
  • Symbols to action translation processes
  • Motivational processes

Elements of drama

The following list is provided by Albert Bandura directly in interview (Rippberger & Deml, 2017, 00:27:35-00:31:53).

1. Social modeling

  • Positive model
    “Demonstrates functional styles of behavior and the benefits…”
  • Negative model
    “Demonstrates the dysfunctional style and what the costs are…”
  • Transitional model
    “… starts out negative and turns into a positive model…”

2. Build efficacy of audience

  • Perceived similarity
    “… persevere with tough problems… eventually overcome them…”

3. Behavior improves audience’s lives

4. Deep audience involvement in drama

  • “Change in realistic steps…”
  • “Depicting outcomes…”
  • “Emotional involvement…”

5. Social supports for changes

  • Use media to connect people to social supportive environments
  • Generalize modeled attitudes, values, styles of behavior

Elements of media influence

  1. Good Theory
  2. Good Translation
  3. Good Diffusion

Value grid

“List in concrete terms… program… promote[s]” to avoid controversy (Bandura, 2019, 01:09:00).


Bandura, A. (2019). Bandura – Reducing global problems [Video]. Vimeo.

Rippberger, R. & Deml, T. [Producers]. (2017). Albert Bandura: The power of soap operas [Video]. YouTube.