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Social Learning Theory.docx

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Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 104
Professor
Barry Cartwright
Semester
Winter

Description
The Chronological Progression: - 1) Sutherland’s differential association theory (1942) - 2) Skinner’s operant conditioning (1953) - 3) Sykes and Matza’s techniques of neutralization (1957) - 4) Burgess and Akers differential association-differentiation theory (1966) - 5) Akers’ social learning theory (1973) Differential Association: - Introduced by Edwin Sutherland - Was a professor at University of Chicago for five years - Rejected notion that crime was caused by “criminal type” or “psychopathology” - Said criminal behaviour was learned, and that it was the social context that contributed to criminal behaviour Nine Propositions of Differential Association: - Criminal behaviour is learned - Learned in a process of interaction with others - Principal part of learning occurs within intimate personal groups - Learning includes: o A) techniques of committing crime o B) motives, rationalizations, and attitudes - Learn definitions of legal codes as favorable or unfavorable - Become delinquent through excess of definitions favorable to criminal activity - Differential associations may differ in intensity, duration and frequency over time - Involves same mechanisms as other types of learning - Needs and values much the same for delinquents and non-delinquents Operant Conditioning: - B.F. Skinner set out principles of operant conditioning, operant behaviour and operant extinction in 1953 book, Science and Human Behaviour - Made Skinner Box Why is it Called “Operant Conditioning”: - Behaviour has its “effects” by “operating” on environment or other people - Behaviour learned through operant reinforcement can be unlearned through combination of extinction and reinforcement of alternative behaviours - Behaviour learned through “law of effect” - Behaviours that bring about desirable effects (e.g., comfort, food, sex), likely to be repeated - Behaviours that bring about undesirable effects (e.g., loss, pain, etc) unlikely to be repeated - Law of effect reflects impact of reward and punishment What is it That They Learn: - Sykes and Matza begin 1957 article by acknowledging Sutherland’s statement that criminal behaviour is “learned in the process of interaction” - Tried to explain the part of the process that involved learning the rationalizations that go along with being a criminal Sykes and Matza: - Unlike Albert Cohen, Sykes and Matza argue that criminals know that what they are doing is wron
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