The Causal Impact of Exposure to Deviant Peers: an Experimental Investigation
The term, “birds of a feather flock together” comes to mind when one studies the social learning theory. The social learning theory is “the view that human behavior is modeled through observation of human social interactions, either directly from observing those who are close and from intimate contact, or indirectly through the media. Interactions that are rewarded are copied, while those that are punished are avoided” (Siegel). In the article The Causal Impact of Exposure to Deviant Peers: an Experimental Investigation, criminologists Raymond Paternoster, Jean McGloin, Holly Nguyen, and Kyle Thomas, research whether the exposure to deviant peers causes individuals to engage in deviance. Their study goes hand-in-hand with United States criminologists Edwin Sutherland’s and Donald Cressey’s “Differential Association Theory”. Some of the basic principles of the differential association theory are: Criminal behavior is learned, learning is a by-product of interaction, learning occurs within intimate groups, and criminal techniques are learned (Siegel, 219). All of these principles are related to whether or not deviant peers cause people around them to engage in devious acts as well. Paternoster and his fellow criminologists state, “Quasi-experimental, observational, and qualitative investigations have undeniably led to a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the connection between deviant peers and delinquency, but on the key question of causality, they do not offer the same clarity and confidence as would true experimentation” (Causal Impact of Exposure to Deviant Peers, 2). Criminologists Raymond Paternoster, Jean McGloin, Holly Nguyen, and Kyle Thomas main hypothesis is that “the impact of experimentally manipulated deviant peer exposure on behavior would provide clear and direct commentary on the debate about causality, adding to the extant research in a...
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