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Lecture

Social Learning Theory

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 222
Professor
Owen Gallupe
Semester
Winter

Description
Social Learning Theory – Thursday, February 6, 2014 Social Learning Theories ­ Basic Idea ­ Juveniles learn to engage in delinquent behaviour through their associations with people involved in  delinquent/criminal behaviour – “monkey see, monkey do” ­ Among the most widely supported criminological theories Differential Association Theory ­ Edwin Sutherland (first version 1939, final version in 1947) ­ The associates of some individuals are more heavily criminal than others o i.e. people have “associations” that are “different” ­ The extent to which associates are criminal is the most important determinant of individual criminal  behaviour ­ 9 key components 1) Criminal behaviour is learned 2) Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication 3) The principal part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal  groups – i.e. family, close friends, etc 4) When criminal behaviour is learned, this includes (a) techniques, and (b) the specific direction  of motives, rationalizations, attitudes 5) The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definition of the legal codes as  favourable or unfavourable 6) A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violation of  law over definitions unfavourable to violation of law – how you perceive certain  behaviours/situations influenced by others 7) Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity – extent of  influence from one’s peer group is dependent on these factors 8) The process of learning criminal behaviours by association with criminal and anticriminal  patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning – delinquency  is not unique, it is learned like anything else 9) While criminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by  those general needs and values, since noncriminal behaviour is an expression of the same  needs and values Social Learning Theory ­ Ron Akers – developed the theory in 1966  ­ Expands on Differential Association Theory but retains the core of it ­ 4 main concepts 1. Differential association 2. Definitions  One’s own attitudes/meanings that define the commission of an act as justified or  unjustified – personal perception of actions 3. Differential reinforcement  Delinquent behaviour depends on the past, present, and anticipated future rewards and  punishments for their actions  Reinforcement can be non
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