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Social Learning Theory of Crime


Megan Powell

on 1 April 2013

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Transcript of Social Learning Theory of Crime

Social Learning Theory of Crime What are the central concepts? How was the Social Learning Theory of Crime developed? What is the Social Learning
Theory "process"? Balance of learned definitions, imitation of criminal models and anticipated balance of reinforcement leads to the initial criminal act Does social structure have an effect on social learning? Akers came up with a "social structure and social learning model" that demonstrates how social structure is hypothesized to have indirect effects on an individuals conduct The "testability" of the principles of the theory have been challenged because they may be redundant What research has been done to validate the theory? When an action taken ends in obtaining approval, money, food or good feelings, it is positive reinforcement What are some of the critiques of the Social Learning Theory? Differential Association Differential Reinforcement Imitation Akers development theory has relied
principally on four major concepts The process whereby one is exposed to normative definitions favorable or unfavorable to illegal or law-abiding behavior. It has both interactional dimensions and normative dimensions. The balance of anticipated or actual rewards and punishments that follow or are consequences of behavior One's own attitudes or meanings that one attaches to given behavior These definitions can be both general and specific: General beliefs: religious, moral, and other conventional values and norms that are favorable to conforming behavior and unfavorable to committing any deviant or criminal acts Specific definitions: orient the person to particular acts or series of acts Definitions The engagement in the behavior after the observation of similar behavior in others The social learning theory is a broader theory that includes the processes of differential association theory, but also combines it with differential reinforcement and other behavioral acquisitions Burgess and Akers specified what those "mechanisms" were in their "differential association-reinforcement" theory Started with Sutherland's 8th statement in
this theory - that all mechanisms of learning are involved in criminal behavior Social Structure and Social Learning Differential Social Organization 2002 Differential Location in the Social Structure Theoretically Defined Structure Variables 2007 2012 1 The structural correlations of crime in the community or society that affect the rates of crime and delinquency including: Age Composition Population Density Other attributes that lean on society, communities and other social systems (toward high or low crime rates Sociodemographic characteristics of individuals and social groups that indicate their niches within the larger social structure Class Gender Race & Ethnicity Martial Status Age These all locate the positions and standing of persons and their roles, groups, or social categories in the overall social structure Anomie, class, oppression, social disorganization, group conflict, and other concepts that have been incorporated in other theories to recognize criminogenic conditions of societies, communities, or groups Differential Social Location One's relationship and membership to primary, secondary, and reference groups such as family, friends, peer groups, leisure groups, colleagues, and co-workers This critique states that their hypothesis is simply, "If behavior is reinforced, it is reinforced" Some argue that youths become delinquent first then seek out other delinquent youths Rather than delinquent associations causing delinquency, delinquency causes delinquent associations The strong relationship between self-reported delinquency and peer associations States that it is the same thing measured twice First Study: Second Study: Fourth and Fifth Study: Third Study: Support for the theory came from research done by Akers and his associates, which included tests by itself and tests that directly compare it to other theories A self-report questionnaire survey of adolescent substance abuse involving 3000 students in grades 7-12 in 8 communities in 3 Midwestern states This study was conducted with Marvin D. Krohn, Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, and Marcia J. Radosevich A five year longitudinal study of smoking among 2,000 students in junior and senior high school in 1 Midwest community Conducted with Marvin Krohn, Ronald Lauer, James Massey, William Skinner, and Sherilyn Spear A four year longitudinal study of conforming and deviant drinking among elderly populations in four communities in Florida and New Jersey Conducted with Anthony La Greca, John Cochran, and Christine Sellers These studies were the masters and doctoral research of Scot Boeringer conducted under Akers supervision on rape, and sexual coercion among samples of 200 and 500 college males Through repetition of acts, imitation becomes less important Social and non-social reinforcement and punishments affect whether acts will be repeated or not. They also decide the frequency. Social structure leads to social learning which will determine whether behavior is criminal or not How does positive reinforcement differ from negative reinforcement? When an action taken becomes enhanced when it lets the person avoid or escape unpleasant events, it is negative reinforcement The better the reinforcement for a behavior, the more it is reinforced Majority has found strong relationships between social learning and criminal behaviors Most research has also shown a loss of validity for critiques Differential association in primary groups, such as family and peers Patterson's research showed that the operation of social learning mechanisms between the parent and the child is a strong predictor of conforming/deviant behavior Studies Conducted: Megan, Ashley & Jordan
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