Criminal Behavior Theories

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There are many different theories about different causes of criminal behavior. In the first section of my paper I will discuss the Behavioral Learning Theory (BLT), the Social Learning Theory (SLT), and the Differential Association Theory (DAT) which all support the idea that criminal behavior can in fact be learned. I will identify some of the people that have contributed to these theories and give examples of some of their work. Finally, I will give examples of how these theories are of use to criminologists and scholars in today’s society.
People manifest criminal behavior in many different ways. One of the most common ways is by learning the behavior. This is a psychological process that is described by two specific behavioral and situational theories known as the Behavioral Learning Theory and the Social Learning Theory.
The Behavioral Learning Theory states that criminal behavior is dependent upon the rewards and punishments that one receives. There are two types of BLT: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is considered a passive approach to BLT. With classical conditioning, it is believed that when a stimuli is consistently presented it will evoke a given response or effect. In this type of situation, a person begins to anticipate things from their environment. Operant conditioning is a more active way of learning behavior than classical. With operant conditioning, manipulation of consequences to previous behavior controls the behavior. The individual takes a more active role in learning how to get their intended end result by pursuing it rather than waiting for it to come to them. Reinforcement is a central component to operant conditioning and can be either positive...

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