Social Learning Theory

comparative Essay
1734 words
1734 words

Akers and Sellers (2013) has stated that social learning theory is an expanded theory of differential association processes and improves it with differential reinforcement and other principles of the behavior theory. They added classical conditioning (the sharpening of involuntary reflex behavior); discriminative stimuli (internal stimuli that lead to signals for behavior); schedules of reinforcement (rewards and punishment ratio following behavioral feedback); and other theories of behavior (Akers & Sellers, 2013). Akers’ social learning theory’s basic premise is that deviant behavior is learned. The theory has four components. First is definitions, where a person considers his behavior is normal. Definitions can be general or specific. General definitions refers to a person’s religious, moral, and conventional values which is conducive to conforming behavior and decreases the chances of committing deviant behavior. Specific definitions refers to a person orienting himself to an action or series of actions. For example, a person may believe that drinking and driving is wrong so he will follow the laws of the road. However, he may see little wrong in smoking marijuana, and break the law of drug possession and use. The second component is imitation where a person copies other people’s behavior after observing them. The third component is differential reinforcement which is the balance of anticipated punishments and rewards that are consequences of behavior. Differential reinforcements have positive (rewarding outcomes) and negative reinforcements (punishments for bad behavior). Finally, the last component is differential association which basically means the people you hang out with. Differential association has four elements whic... ... middle of paper ... ...e substantial on the question about the ability of the social learning variables to account for differences in male and female offenses. References Akers, R. L., & Sellers, C. S. (2013) Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation, and application (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Akers, R. L., Krohn, M. D., Lanza-Kaduce, L., & Radosevich, M. (1979). Social learning and deviant behavior: A specific test of a general theory. American Sociological Review, 44(4), 636-655. Lee, G., Akers, R., & Borg, M. (2004). Social learning and structural factors in adolescent substance use. Western Criminology Review, 5(1), 17-33. Messner, S., Krohn, M., & Liska, A. (1989). Theoretical integration in the study of deviance and crime. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Void, G., Thomas, B., & Snipes, J. (1998). Theoretical Criminology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the results of the regression analyses exhibited solid support for social learning theory on alcohol and drug use.
  • Concludes that social learning theory warrants consideration as a general theory for criminal deviance. future tests should focus on more hardcore drugs and include longitudinal studies.
  • Describes the research design used to test their hypothesis of the social structure and social learning model (sssl) using lisrel data from the boys town study of adolescent substance use.
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