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Social Learning Theory

Essay by   •  July 21, 2013  •  Essay  •  995 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,430 Views

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Social learning theory focuses on behavior that is learned and maintained or extinguished based on the rewards or punishments associated with it (Masters et al., 2011). With this theory, people tend to observe and take note of how others behave and whether or not they were rewarded or disciplined for acting in a particular way. People who see others being rewarded or not being punished for bad behavior may feel that they should be acting similarly because they will also get away with it. Learning criminal or deviant behavior is the same as learning to engage in conforming behavior; it is done through association with or exposure to others (Crossman). On the other hand, people who see others receive punishment for their bad behaviors may result in discouraging others from partaking in similar bad behavior because they fear the punishments they would receive. With the social learning theory, people may come to think that how they see others behaving is the norm in society; therefore, making them think that this is acceptable and appropriate behavior for them also.

One thing that could be done to reduce the crime problem in the United States with the social learning theory is by parents being better role models for their children. Parents are the number one people that kids spend most of their time with. They grow up learning from their parents, and many want to be exactly like their parents when they get older. Children who see their father beating up on their mother are more likely under the social learning theory to copy this behavior. They see that their father is beating up on their mother in order for her to follow his commands. The kids may see that if by abusing someone that they will get what they want. A son is more likely to grow up and think that it's acceptable for him to beat on his girlfriends or wife because this is what he saw his dad do. Since the mom wouldn't fight back, this shows the children that there are no consequences or punishments for physically hurting someone to get what they want. In order to reduce this crime in the United States, parents need to stop hurting each other both physically and mentally. They need to have talks with their children about how hurting others is never acceptable. Also, parents need to teach their kids that there will be consequences for their actions if they were ever to lay a hand on someone else because it's breaking the law. If parents are able to teach their children at young ages that this type of behavior is not acceptable then it's more likely that they will grow up avoiding physically abusing others.

Another thing that could be done to reduce the crime problem in the United States with this theory is by making it harder for kids to gain access to violent video games and movies. Parents need to monitor better what types of movies they are allowing their kids to watch and what types of video games they are buying for their kids to play. A lot of the

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