It was often asked and researched throughout the years of why people commit a crime. As the opposed question came about, theorist came out with their theories of why people commit a crime. I believe people commit crime because they are learning it from the influences in their life and because the person or persons is a very important aspect in their lives it leads to the process of why people commit a crime. This connects to Sutherland’s theory of Differential Association, but while it does connect to Sutherland’s theory this paper will focus on the social learning theory that Aker mentions and has further research of the subject of crime.
Micro-Level Learning theory has been advanced by many theorist over the years such as the theorist Sutherland. If I were to test the theory of social learning, specifically micro-level learning theory I would examine the relationships with peers preferably intimate relationships with friends and family. Only then when viewing the intimate relationships, I would see the person learn the techniques of committing crime and what’s considered in the text “definitions”. When mentioning “definitions” it’s what is favorable and unfavorable toward violation of the law.
Now, for the theory to be accurate I have to find things that support or amongst the search if it undermines the theory at hand.
The theory had one major concern that undermines the accuracy of the theory. The theory does not give a good description of the favorable and unfavorable to crime. It was because that the description of the theory was first described by Sutherland than a few others, until it lead to Akers.
There has been many theorists who tried to define the definitions more precisely. It was treated as different theories, but the main one I want to focus on is the social learning theory. Since there has been many theorist who focused for example, control theory it became difficult to find the theory that is more acceptable.
Another concern that was mentioned was that the theory failed to describe the process of how crime is learned. Akers did however, did draw from psychology to get a better aspect of the behavior and the social learning process. The process comes in three steps as said by Akers. First, an individual learn beliefs that define crime as desirable or justifiable. He goes more in depth saying these beliefs lead to crime.
The second process is that people engage in crime because are reinforced into that situation, meaning it could be peer pressure (a negative reinforcement) or the individual could receive a reward for participating in the crime. The last process is that people imitate the criminal behavior of others, which is the intimate relationship the individual has with them.
The process of learning crime as shown through most studies which shows that associating with family and/or friends that exhibit criminal behavior, comes out more often throughout most of the studies. This was taken as a strong evidence to support the social learning theory, however, even though it had the correlation numerous researchers argued against it.
The researchers argued that the correlation doesn’t mean that the association with criminal family or friends cause criminal behavior in the individual. Even saying that as well there has been strong support to back up the social learning theory. It is said that the origin of the support stems from research solely based off of experiments being conducted such as surveys or field work studies.
From all the information that has been researched and conducted has shown the support of the theory and also the facts that undermine the theory. If I were to make the theory more accurate I would say that an individual associating themselves with a delinquent family member influences the individual to commit or take part in criminal activities.
This combined theory now becomes more accurate to the research that has been conducted by the theorists. The theory itself needs a lot more research that needs to be conducted, but with the improved version of the theory will lead to a more stronger support of the social learning theory.
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