Theories Of Social Learning Theory

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People are not hired wired to make bad decisions; some theories suggest that people learn to engage in criminal behavior the same way they learn other behavior. These theories, known as social learning theories, are used to explain patterns of behavior and the learning processes behind crime. Social learning theories stem from Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization, and cultural transmission theories help explain why crime is more prevalent, accepted, and tolerated in certain areas than others (Lecture). Edwin Sutherland developed the theory of differential association (Cullen text, CH10). He theorized that crime is learned through interactions with others, and people learn to commit crime because of “an excess of favorable definitions…show more content…
Akers focuses on four major concepts, differential association, definitions, differential reinforcement, and imitation. Akers suggested differential reinforcements, or the anticipated rewards or punishments, heavily influences crime (Cullen text, CH11). The idea of differential reinforcement is a lot like the idea of deterrence; if the rewards outweigh the consequences, one is likely to continue with crime, however if the consequences outweigh the rewards, one is likely to desist from such behavior (Lecture). Akers also suggested that perceived rewards and punishments were based on the values within ones social group. Akers also suggested imitation influences crime, especially in criminal subgroups where crime is often tolerated and rewarded (Cullen text, Part…show more content…
Cultural learning theories can account for the statement, “if crime is something that anyone can learn, why is it that the people who happen to ‘learn crime’ often live in the same inner-city areas and not in the suburbs”. Many scholars offer theories to explain why violence is often clustered in poor, central-city areas rather than suburbs. These theories suggest crime isn’t abnormal and that it is actually “normal” in some situations, or even expected or required (Lecture). Walter Miller suggests that inner-city low-income communities have a different set of values and are preoccupied with issues that are of no concern to middle or upper class communities (Lecture). These six issues, trouble, toughness, smartness, excitement, fate, and autonomy, create a fertile environment to crime (Miller,
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