Behavioral Learning Theory

Topics: Crime, Sociology, Criminology Pages: 3 (909 words) Published: April 22, 2007
The Behavioral Learning Theory believes that behavior is learned from either the environment, the people in the individual's life, the media, or society as a whole. This theory contradicts the Biological theory, which states that criminals are "born to be bad" and that criminal behavior is inherited. The behavioral theory looks at the environment as well as society's impact on how an individual acts which might be the reason for criminal behavior. This theory blames the environment as well as the individual by saying it is a learned behavior and that it also was a choice they made. A basic assumption is that behavior is learned and modeled by individuals, groups, the media, and society as a whole.

The theory explains why people commit crime for a number of reasons. People commit crime because of the benefits and the rewards they may receive for it. For an example, most people sell drugs because they see the materialistic and money gained from selling drugs. People also commit crime because of their attachments to their peers, and by wanting to be accepted. This theory also explains that you are making a choice to participate in the commission of these crimes and that you are learning the behavior. It contradicts the Biological theory which says that criminals are born badly and that if your parents are criminals you have a gene that would explain why you do or will commit crimes. The behavioral theory blames society, the environment, and the other factors that may persuade you into committing crimes and not so much the individual. Sutherland explained crime by learning a social context through interaction and communication. He says that the learned behavior includes committing the crime, the motives, rationalizations, attitudes, and the evaluations of others. Sutherland believes that criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values.

I believe the strengths of this theory are that it explains why many people commit crimes. It...
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