Criminology

The Social Learning Theory of Criminality

The theory states that criminal and anti-social behaviors are learned behaviors. We go through a process of identification with role models. By identifying with them, we have decided that we want to be like them.

When we observe a behavior being rewarded, we go through a process called vicarious reinforcement. We are not rewarded directly, but want to imitate the role model's behavior because we think it will reward us too.

If a behavior is copied and followed by a reward, this is an example if direct reinforcement. It's likely that we will want to repeat this behavior to be rewarded over and over again. This is how behavior becomes established. This is a point at which the behavior is so well learned that it becomes part of us and is fully ingrained - this is known as interlization. At this point the behavior happens regardless of the consequences, whether they are good or bad.

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