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Differences Between Imitation and Modeling

Imitation vs Modeling

In this article, we will be covering a particular behavioral therapy which is imitation or modeling. As a behavioral therapy, “imitation” and “modeling” are two synonymous terms. However, the more popular term is “modeling.” Aside from imitation, “modeling” is also known as “observational learning” and “vicarious learning.”

Modeling or imitation is a behaviorally based procedure which aims to strengthen or weaken a particular behavior of a person. Modeling involves the use of live models for the client to actually see a live demonstration on how to do a particular behavior or attitude. Seeing a live model demonstrate for him will trigger the thought of the client for what particular behavior he wants to acquire or change.

In this procedure, the client is not required to demonstrate on his own the behavior he sees. He only needs to observe to learn it. Modeling is an effective technique that can help reduce the unwanted behavior of the client. Modeling or imitation can also help reduce the excessive fears of the client when he perceives that a particular action is embarrassing or dangerous. With modeling or imitation, a person can learn various social behaviors.

Now, who needs a modeling or imitation therapy? Modeling is frequently used for clients who have anxiety disorders. It is also effective among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder. Modeling or imitation can also be effective for people with poor social skills. With modeling or imitation, they can acquire social skills such as speaking in front of many people or being assertive.

Modeling or imitation therapy is actually based on social learning theory. In this theory, it cites the importance of learning just from observing a behavioral pattern from live role models. When you observe, you tend to imitate the actions. Along with the modeling of certain behaviors are their rewards and punishments. If you do this or do that, will you be rewarded, or will you be punished?

Modeling is very effective for a short-term therapy. However, if your target is a long-term behavioral change, modeling cannot be effective as it is. Instead, modeling therapy should be combined with other behavioral therapies such as the role play therapy and the reinforcement therapy. As its name implies, role play therapy is the rehearsal of a skill while reinforcement is the rewarding of the client’s newly acquired skills.

The effectivity of the modeling therapy also depends on the following factors. First of all, you should have a highly skilled model. The model should enact the behavior well. The model should also be friendly and, as much as possible, the model should be of the same sex and age of the client. With that, the client can also be at ease with the model. Another factor is the clear demonstration of the behavior. It should be demonstrated from the easiest to the most difficult types of behavior. With that, the client can steadily gain acquisition several behaviors.

Summary:

  1. As a behavioral therapy, “imitation” and “modeling” are two synonymous terms. However, the more popular term is “modeling.” Aside from imitation, “modeling” is also known as “observational learning” and “vicarious learning.”

  2. Modeling involves the use of live models for the client to actually see a live demonstration on how to do a particular behavior or attitude.

  3. Modeling is frequently used for clients who have anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder. Modeling or imitation can also be effective for people with poor social skills.


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