“Criminality is learned in the same manner as any other learned behavior” (Siegel). People, and criminals, learn motives, values and techniques from interactions and experiences with other people. This can be with parents and family members or peers in someone 's life. The theory says that the criminal need someone to teach them the criminal acts before they commit the act themselves. This theory “affirm[s] the importance of criminal contact as a means for learning how to offend” (McCarthy). Most people do not wake up one day and decide to start being criminals. Most of the time, that person has friends and acquaintances around them already doing criminal acts. That person might think that the acts are criminal and bad but, after a while of hanging around them, especially if they never get in trouble, the deviant acts will look more normal. People become “delinquents because of an excess of definition favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of law”
Social learning theory was first developed by Robert L. Burgess and Ronald L Akers in 1966 (Social Learning theory, 2016). In 1973, Akers wrote a book entitled Deviant Behaviour: A Social Learning Approach, which discussed Aker’s conception of the social learning theory. He developed social learning theory by extending Sutherland’s theory of differential association (Cochran & Sellers, 2017). Social learning theory is based on the principles of Pavlov’s operant and classical conditioning. Akers believes that crime is like any other social behavior because it is learned through social interaction (Social Learning theory, 2016). Social learning theory states that the probability of an individual committing a crime or engaging in criminal behaviour is increased when they differentially associate with others who commit criminal behavior (Cochran & Sellers, 2017). Social learning theory is classified as a general theory of crime, and has been used to explain many types of criminal behaviour (Social Learning theory, 2016). Furthermore, social learning theory is one of the most tested contemporary theories of crime. There are four fundamental components of social learning theory; differential association, definitions, differential reinforcement and imitation (Social Learning theory,
Trait Theory suggests that the criminal behavior that one may partake in is related to personality traits inherited at birth. “Psychological traits are stable personality patterns that tend to endure throughout the life course and across social and cultural contexts.” (Schmalleger, 2016) This theory also suggests that these traits give criminals “predispositions to respond to a given situation in
Criminals come from all walks of life. Some are wealthy business owners while others are poverty-stricken and homeless. Some are 60 years old while others are 16. What makes people decide to become a criminal? Why does one person who gets arrested and faces punishment learn from the mistake and does nothing illegal again while others become prison regulars? Criminological theory seeks to answer these questions in an effort to mold societal influence and implement programs to deter people from committing crimes. One such theory is the classical theory. Even though some believe that crime is based mainly on social influencers like in the differential association theory, the classical theory is more accurate because it suggests that each person makes the choice to commit a crime based on risk versus reward and because most intentional criminal acts pay some sort of benefit, rarely are they seen as not profitable.
People are uniquely different and because of this reason, they do have different behaviors. Crime is one kind of behavior that an individual can engage in. They are punishable by the law and may be prosecuted by the state (Helfgott, 2008). There are different theories existing that try to explain the actions of criminals. They deeply explain what causes an individual to commit a criminal activity. This paper discusses some examples of the biological theories, social theories and psychological theories of crime.
This paper looks at the different theories of criminal behavior that explain why people commit crimes. It goes deeper to analyze the specific theories in a bid to determine why a person may commit a certain crime and another person under the same circumstances may not. The paper focuses on key factors that motivate unruly behavior among people and why such factors are present in some people and not in others. In doing so, the paper leans more on children in order to determine how delinquency behavior is progressively imparted on them as they undergo developmental trajectory.
What makes one person more likely to commit crime than another? Many people have worked throughout the years to try and answer this question in an attempt to really get to the root cause of crime so that things can be done to better prevent it. One major school of thought centering around this question is based on trait theory. This theory focuses on the hypothesis that some people have certain personality traits or genetic predispositions that make them more likely to commit crime than someone without these factors. Other things that may come into play regarding trait theory and predisposition to crime are the individual's parents and the environment they were raised in.
There are a number of existing criminological theories and angles, which criminologists develop and study to answer many of the questions raised about the origin of crime. Two major theories have been chosen for discussion in-depth within this paper: the Trait Theory and the Developmental (or life-course) Th...
Criminals are not born; they are created or molded into individuals who participate in criminal behaviors. There are several factors that influence deviance beginning with social structures, generational values and attitudes and social bonding. The concepts of all five theories briefly clarify why criminals partake in deviant activities; however, I believe three learning theories - Social Disorganization, Differential Association and Hirschi’s Social Bonding - best explain how social structures and interactions correlate with the cultivation of criminals.
There are many different views on the origins of criminal behaviors within societies. One possible reason for why people commit crimes could be because they learned it from others. Edwin Sutherland works to explain this tactic through his theory of differential association. His theory states that criminal behavior is learned in interaction with others in intimate, personal groups. The learning of criminal behavior depends on the strength of the relationship with those who commit deviant actions. This learning also depends on their definitions of legal codes. For example, some people in society rationalize traffic speeding if it is only a couple miles over the speed limit while others are strongly against speeding at any degree. When a person’s
Differential association theory best explains the burglary deviance. There are many principles associated with this type of learning theory. Edwin Sutherland’s theory discusses how crime is a learned behavior where one’s family, peers, and environment are of great influence. Differential association theory seeks to prove that criminal behavior is learned and this paper will evaluate the connection between the two.
High crime rates are an ongoing issue through the United States, however the motivation and the cause of crime has yet to be entirely identified. Ronald Akers would say that criminality is a behavior that is learned based on what an individual sees and observes others doing. When an individual commits a crime, he or she is acting on impulse based on actions that they have seen others engage in. Initially during childhood, individuals learn actions and behavior by watching and listening to others, and out of impulse they mimic the behavior that is observed. Theorist Ronald Akers extended Sutherland’s differential association theory with a modern viewpoint known as the social learning theory. The social learning theory states that individuals commit crime through their association with or exposure to others. According to Akers, people learn how to be offenders based on their observations around them and their association with peers. Theorist Akers states that for one, “people can become involved in crime through imitation—that is by modeling criminal conduct. Second, and most significant, Akers contended that definition and imitation are most instrumental in determining initial forays into crime” (Lilly, Cullen, and Ball 2011:57). Although Akers’ theory has been linked to juvenile delinquency in the past, it has also been tested as a possible cause of crime overall. Individuals learn from observation that criminal behavior is justifiable in certain circumstances. In connection with juvenile delinquency and crime, peers and intimate groups have the most effect on individuals when associated with criminal behavior. One is more likely to mimic the behavior of someone who they have close ties with, whether the behavior is justifiable or...
Due to the short comings of the social bond theory’s ability to explain delinquency, Hirschi in collaboration with Michael R. Gottfredson devised the theory on self-control. (Parent, 2003) The self-control theory became recognised as ‘the general theory of crime’. The theory states ‘’individuals with high self-control will be substantially less likely at all periods of life to engage in criminal acts while those with low self-control are highly likely to commit crime.’’ (Travis Hirschi, 1990) Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson provided that the theory ‘’explains all crime, at all times, and, for that matter many forms of behaviour that are not sanctioned by the state.’’ (Travis Hirschi, 1990) The self-control theory was created with the idea of being an ‘’all inclusive’’ theory, which relates to everyone regardless of age, race or ethnicity. (Parent, 2003) Hirschi explained that those with an elevated self- control would be ‘’substantially less likely at all period of life to engage in criminal acts.’’ (Ronald L. Akers, 2003) And that those with low self-control, when the opportunities to commit crime arise, will be substantially more likely to commit criminal acts. Overall, Hirschi hypothesised that low self-control was responsible for all forms of delinquency and criminal behaviour. As for the cause, self-control is either developed or not developed at a young age and once developed, it remains stable throughout the individual’s life. (Intravia, 2009) Self -control sometimes cannot be developed as a result of ineffective childhood socialization, where parents have failed to monitor behaviour appropriately, did not recognise misbehaviours and failed to punish these misbehaviours. (Ronald L. Akers, 2003) Similarly, to his social bond theory, Hirschi and Gottfredson devised numerous elements of low self-control. These elements were: impulsivity, preference for simple
Social learning theory is described by Spector when “people learn from each other by such processes as observation, imitation and modeling” (2016, p.80). This theory is grounded in behaviorism; having someone observe a process that is being demonstrated as well as cognitivism; then having the ability to reproduce the actions that were observed (Spector, 2016).
The social learning theory states, that an individual learn behavior through observing their environment as a child. “Without the process of reasoning observational learning cannot happen. Children witness the people around them behaving and acting in numerous ways. People that are being observed are best known as the “model”. In todays’ society children are surrounded by countless influential models, such as their mother and father within the family, characters on television, friends that they associate with and teachers at school. These people provide behavior examples that children watch closely and later imitate. Ki...