Social learning is learned behaviour that results from observing, modelling and imitating others. We observe what others have done and note the consequences – this, in turn, influences our own behaviour.
We constantly seek to learn from others’ experiences through reviews on social media such as Facebook, Yelp, eBay and TripAdvisor. We want to know what people thought of a movie, a restaurant, a seller or an overseas destination.
The problem arises when we follow others behaviour uncritically. As Tali Sharot observes:
Our instinct is to imitate the choices of others, because we assume that others have information we do not. However, other people’s decisions can stem from considerations that are irrelevant to us. We need to be careful when following other’s choices, mindful that they may not be right for us. (Tali Sharot – The Influential Mind, 2017, p. 160; emphasis added)
As we grow in mindfulness we can become more discerning and better able to evaluate social learning and its impact on our own behaviour. Being mindful in this way enables us to reflect-in-action and change our behaviour when we are engaging in learned behaviour that we perceive may have undesirable outcomes.
Image Source: Courtesy of Bess-Hamiti on Pixabay