Social Learning Theory And Crime/deviance
According to social learning theory, people engage in crime because of their association with others who engage in crime. Their criminal behavior is reinforced and they learn beliefs that are favorable to crime. They essentially have criminal models that they associate with. As a consequence, these individuals come to view crime as something that is desirable, or at least justifiable in certain situations. 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. In fact, association with delinquent friends is the best predictor of delinquent behavior other than prior delinquency.
Social learning theory postulates that there are three mechanisms by which individuals learn to engage in crime: differential reinforcement, beliefs, and modeling.
Summary And Resources For Further Learning
While social learning theory demonstrates that behavior, whether positive or negative, can be taught or adapted through observation, it is essential as a social worker that you employ additional relevant practices and social work theories that account for other factors that may play a role in a clientâs behavior.
Here are several social learning theory related books and online resources you may find helpful throughout your social work education and career.
Operant Conditioning And Repeating Actions
Operant Conditioning is another learning theory that emphasizes a more conscious type of learning than that of classical conditioning. A person does something to see what effect it might bring. Simply said, operant conditioning describes how we repeat behaviors because they pay off for us. It is based on a principle authored by a psychologist named Thorndike called the law of effect. The law of effect suggests that we will repeat an action if it is followed by a good effect.
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Stage Of Formal Operations
From 12 to 15 years old, this is like the last stage of cognitive development. Here he begins to elaborate hypotheses and to doubt about the information he has.
At this stage he can draw conclusions and observations from the situations he has experienced and also manipulate the information he receives from the environment.
For Piaget, the stages of knowledge are separated by time. According to the moment in which the human being is in his process of growth, he can have a vision of the environment and the interaction with this environment results in thought patterns.
Piaget focused on the early years of childrens lives in the psychological and pedagogical field, however, it provided the basis for cognitive development and appropriate study in the psychological field.
What Are Learning Theories
Learning theory describes how students receive, process, and retain knowledge during learning. Educators who embrace cognitive theory believe that the definition of learning as a change in behaviour is too narrow, and study the learner rather than their environmentand in particular the complexities of human memory.
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Brain Chemistry And Personality Traits
Other studies show just how important our brain chemistry is to our reactions and how we assess our environment. Different parts of the brain go off as we make decisions. The stronger these responses are, the more likely a person is to hold certain personality traits. For example, people who are highly neurotic have stronger responses in their amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for reacting to fear.
Biological theorists believe by changing the size of our amygdala, theoretically, we could change how neurotic a person is. That is, if you could control the size of a particular brain section.
The physical structure of the brain may also be linked to personality traits. Studies from Cambridge University revealed a positive correlation between openness and folding in the prefrontal cortices.
Banduras Bobo Doll Experiment
During the 1960s, Bandura conducted a series of famous experiments that came to be known as the Bobo doll experiment. The experiments involved having children observe an adult interact with a Bobo doll, a large inflatable toy that resembles the shape of a bowling pin. If tipped over, the doll returns to its original upright position.
When children observed the adult acting aggressively or violently toward the doll, the kids were more likely to imitate these behaviors when they were later allowed to interact with the doll.
The research served as a basis for Banduras social learning theory and the important role that observational learning plays. The study also had an impact on the conversation about how the violence that children observe in the media may impact their behavior.
Bandura dubbed his approach Social Learning Theory when it was first introduced in 1977. He continued to develop his ideas and renamed his approach Social Cognitive Theory in 1986.
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Emotion Motivation And Self
Bandura also believed that inner states could have an effect on the social learning process. Cognitive influences including your emotional states, moods, and thoughts can affect your attention, motivation, and willingness to learn.
Social experiences can also affect your sense of self-efficacy, which is your belief in your ability to perform a test or achieve a goal. Having a strong sense of self-efficacy can help you choose goals, initiate actions, and persist in the face of obstacles.
Observing people do something successfully can play a role in your sense of self-efficacy. When you watch them succeed, it can inspire your own belief in your ability to be successful as well.
What Is The Main Idea Of Social Learning Theory
With the Social Learning Theory, Bandura describes how people can learn something new by observing the behavior of other people and applying rational mental behavior.
Observational learning is the first step in the social learning process. The famous Bobo doll experiment supported the social learning theory of observational learning.
The results of the observational learning experiment showed that kids mimicked the behavior of the adults they observed. Follow-up results also showed that the children were more likely to learn the behavior where they saw the adults were rewarded for aggressive or non-aggressive actions than those that were punished for their aggression.
People desire approval in life, and therefore they function in ways to receive approval. During the experiment, it was noted that the children preferred repeating actions of the models who gained approval by being rewarded. They are also more likely to continue the behavior that results in positive consequences than negative consequences.
Banduras theory was based on three main ideas.
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Canters Theory Of Assertive Discipline
Assertive discipline is a structured system to enable teachers to manage their classrooms. It focuses on the teacher developing a positive behaviour management strategy rather than being dictatorial.
Canters proposition is that the teacher has the right to decide what is best for their students and that no student should prevent any other from learning.
The teacher should very clear boundaries as to how they expect their students to behave and work, the students should know what these boundaries are and any deviation should be met with an assertive action from the teacher.
This all sounds quite draconian, right?
However, if the teacher gives a firm, clear instruction and those instructions are met, they should be followed by positive reinforcement . Any deviation from the instruction should be met with negative consequences that the students have prior knowledge of.
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Learning Theories: Definition And Characteristics Every Educator Should Know
The educational field has been the subject of study for many theorists over the years. Consequently, many educational theories have emerged from these investigations since the early twentieth century. These theories address issues related to the definition of learning, the existing types, influence factors, and even learning styles. For this reason, before beginning to describe the different learning theories that exist, it is important to define two concepts: learning and learning theory.
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Beliefs Favorable To Crime
On top of reinforcing criminal behavior, other individuals can also teach a person beliefs that are favorable to crime. Surveys and interviews with criminals suggest that beliefs favoring crime fall into three categories. First is the approval of certain minor forms of crime, such as gambling, soft drug use, and for adolescents, alcohol use and curfew violation. Second is the approval of or justification of certain forms of crime, including some serious crimes. These people believe that crime is generally wrong, but that some criminal acts are justifiable or even desirable in certain situations. For example, many people will say that fighting is wrong, however, that it is justified if the individual has been insulted or provoked. Third, some people hold certain general values that are more conducive to crime and make crime appear as a more attractive alternative to other behaviors. For example, individuals who have a large desire for excitement or thrills, those who have a disdain for hard work and a desire for quick and easy success, or those who wish to be seen as tough or macho might view crime in a more favorable light than others.
Learning Theories In Psychology
Theories of learning have done much to influence the way people teach, create course curriculum and explain things to their children. Theories have sprung up that reflect the changing values in our social environments and the popular influences of the day. In the 1960s, cognitivism moved to the forefront of learning theory, exactly when popular culture was embracing do your own thing. Behavioralism, a more basic reward-and-learn postulation, became a little less popular about then.
Learning theories are very persistent. Many explanations have been devised to define the same phenomenon, possibly because learning is complex and one theory does not fit everyone or every situation. Here are five prominent theories that attempt to explain how we go to bed at night a little smarter than when we woke up that morning.
Behaviorism dates back to the late 19th century and, as such, was born in an era when natural sciences were at the forefront of scientific discovery. It explains learning as a conditioned or operant response to the environment, which supplies either positive or negative consequences to any behavior. It also postulates that learning is only complete when it can be seen as a change in behavior.
Understanding is defined as a cognitive schema, which is analogous to awareness or meaning. Learning is defined as a change in an established schema.
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Uses For Social Learning Theory
As you might imagine, social learning theory has a number of practical applications. Some of these include:
- Parenting: Parents can use social learning to model behaviors that they want their children to learn.
- Education: Teachers can utilize principles of social learning theory to help teach children in classroom settings. Not only can the teacher serve as a model, pure models can also play an important part in observational learning.
- Therapy: social learning can also be important in the therapeutic process. Therapists can model appropriate behaviors, and peers can also model these behaviors in group therapy settings.
- Media messages: Social modeling also has the potential to have a positive effect on persuasive public health messaging. Encouraging people to engage in healthy behaviors can often be effective. However, researchers also suggest that media influencers can sometimes play a negative role. The debate over the impact of violence in mass media is one example of how observational learning might have a detrimental impact on behavior.
Introduction To Social Learning Theory In Social Work
Social work theories can be taken from many disciplines such as criminology, law, education, politics, sociology and psychology. Individually, each discipline attempts to explain human behavior within its field of study. However, to ensure that you, as a social worker, are able to explain a particular behavior it is important you find the appropriate theory, or a combination thereof, regardless of the original discipline. One theory that may prove helpful for some of your clients is the social learning theory.
While social learning theory comes from psychology, its tenets are very much applicable to the study of social work. This introduction to social learning theory addresses its foundation, elements, strengths and weaknesses, along with its application in social work. Included is a list of books and online resources to learn more.
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Learning Through Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning was first described by the behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. It is sometimes also referred to as Skinnerian conditioning and instrumental conditioning. Skinner believed that classical conditioning simply could not account for all types of learning and was instead more interested in learning how the consequences of actions influence behaviors.
Like classical conditioning, operant conditioning relies on forming associations. In operant conditioning, however, associations are made between a behavior and the consequences of that behavior. When a behavior leads to a desirable consequence, it becomes more likely that the behavior will be repeated again in the future. If the actions lead to a negative outcome, however, then the behavior then becomes less likely to occur.
Cognitive Learning Strategies In The Organisational And Personal Sphere
Bringing Cognitive Learning Theory to the corporate arena can be beneficial. Employees are also learners when they must receive training or new responsibilities that will lead to new experiences as a result.
These new experiences will result in new skills according to the environment in which they happen. Motivation on the part of the leader will influence the employees behaviour.
For this reason the workplaces must be modified so that the staff can train themselves. The environment or setting must be conducive to receiving clear and accurate information. Setting up a space where only training is received can be a strategy for learning about the environment.
Also the pedagogy and new digital training tools to ensure that the information to be shared is more didactic and enjoyable for employees. With this, the schemes that the employees will train with respect to the way in which the information is delivered will be able to repeat the success of the knowledge as a result of the learning.
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Behavioral Patterns Of Classical Conditioning
The word conditioning is used to mean a type of learning that occurs without you having to think about it, almost like an automatic type of learning. Although later on, this learning may be reinforced by reflecting upon that experience.
For example, sometimes you will see a dog flinch when you raise your hand. This flinching is a conditioned reflex, and can be seen in dogs who have been mistreated by their owner.
The same can be found in women who are beaten by their husbands. This latter example shows that classical conditioning is not solely confined to animals, as it can just as easily occur in humans.
The three main behavioral patterns that are associated with classical conditioning are:
What Is The Biological Perspective On Personality
This perspective posits that we are genetically predisposed to certain personality traits, from cleanliness to extraversion. This counters the idea that our environment and life experiences form our personalities. Similarly, evolutionary theory suggests that our personality comes from an environment that favors certain traits over time.
Some of the earliest and most famous examples of the biological perspective is ideas brought forth by Charles Darwin. Darwin was the father of evolutionary psychology. His theories of evolution suggested that species evolve over time members of said species with stronger traits were more likely to reproduce and pass those traits onto their offspring. Evolution doesnt just favor physical traits, like taller people or faster swimmers.
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Piagets Theory Of Cognitive Development
Piaget is an interesting character in Psychology. His theory of learning differs from many others in some important ways:
First, he focuses exclusively on children Second, he talks about development and Third, its a stage theory, not a linear progression theory. OK, so whats he on about?
Well, there are some basic ideas to get your head around and some stages to understand too. The basic ideas are:
- Schemas: The building blocks of knowledge.
- Adaptation processes: These allow the transition from one stage to another. He called these: Equilibrium, Assimilation and Accommodation.
- Stages of Cognitive development: Sensorimotor Preoperational Concrete Operational Formal Operational.
So heres how it goes. Children develop Schemas of knowledge about the world. These are clusters of connected ideas about things in the real world that allow the child to respond accordingly.
When the child has developed a working Schema that can explain what they perceive in the world, that Schema is in a state of Equilibrium.
When the child uses the schema to deal with a new thing or situation, that Schema is in Assimilation and Accommodation happens when the existing Schema isnt up to the job of explaining whats going on and needs to be changed.
Once its changed, it returns to Equilibrium and life goes on. Learning is, therefore, a constant cycle of Assimilation Accommodation Equilibrium Assimilation and so on
Knowledge Creation And Management
Education stakeholders have come to rely on mounting research evidence on teaching and learning that, ironically, is challenging to obtain and often written in scientific language not easily understood in common terms. At IBE we identify, select, and interpret research findings for policy-making and practical application in curriculum and learning.
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