Observational learning (also known as vicarious learning, social learning, or modeling) is a type of learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating novel behavior executed by others. It is argued that reinforcement has the effect of influencing which responses one will partake in, more than it influences the actual acquisition of the new response.
Although observational learning can take place at any stage in life, it is thought to be of greater importance during childhood, particularly as authority becomes important. The best role models are those a year or two older for observational learning. Because of this, social learning theory has influenced debates on the effect of television violence and parental role models.