Those particular BPs which are relevant to these issues, communicated pro or con in the group or culture, would define the attitude BPs. The attitude BPs from the appropriate sample of individuals would serve as the operational basis from which group values could be inferred. Thus, the attitude BPs and, therefore, the group values could be studied as a function of the degree to which they reflect (1) individual personality characteristics of the individuals concerned and (2) the external group values to which the group members commonly yield. Situations could be identified which are more parsimoniously and economically predicted with group-value constructs. Other situations could be identified where personality constructs would remain the relevant predictive tools. Two constructs may be posited as important in making these distinctions: degree of communication of the group value and individual locus of control tendencies. That is, it seems plausible to hypothesize that (1) the greater the degree to which a group value is discussed, propagandized, or communicated in some other way, (2) the greater the external locus of control for group members, and (3) the greater the identification with (reinforcement source of) the group, the more likely is behavior to be predictable on a mass (group or cultural) basis rather than with individual personality and other psychological constructs.
In considering those events which are most conveniently predicted through group-value constructs, a further question arises: what conditions are necessary for a group value to be formalized into an institution (law, social structure)? The construct, institution, could perhaps be defined in terms of conditions where conforming behavior is expected and punishments are given to those whose behavior violates this institutionalized group value.
To illustrate the use of such group-inferred constructs, one might consider such problems as the group values of residential retardates toward sexual activity or learning and rehabilitative skills. Also, the attitudes of educable retardates in special classes and sheltered workshops toward delinquent behavior or toward handling one's savings might be studied. If pertinent variables and laws could be identified here, there is the possibility that sociological and social psychological mass treatment techniques could be used to manage and shape certain behavior more economically and efficiently than individual psychological approaches alone.
This chapter has introduced social learning theory as a basic and researchable personality theory which is applicable to mental retardation. After discussing critically some of the scientific, methodological, and philosophical habits which characterize the theory, the research, and the researchers, a brief exposition of Rotter's social learning theory was presented. Following this, a chronology of research studies was described in which social learning theory was applied to mental retardation. Early consideration was given to the effect of failure and perceived failure on the retardates' self-evaluation and performance. Gradually, more refined