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Social Learning Theories. Differential Association Theory Akers’ Social Learning Theory. Differential Association Theory. Edwin H. Sutherland (1939)

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social learning theories

Social Learning Theories

Differential Association Theory

Akers’ Social Learning Theory

differential association theory
Differential Association Theory
  • Edwin H. Sutherland (1939)
  • Sutherland's theory departs from the psychological perspective and biological perspective by attributing the cause of crime to the social context of individuals
differential association1
Differential association

“Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.. “

diagnose your network
Diagnose Your Network
  • You can map the connections you have with other people to determine the network you currently have
  • Write down the names of the most important contacts in your network—people you rely on for the exchange of private information, specialized expertise, advice, and inspiration/emotional support
diagnose your network1
Diagnose Your Network
  • After you identify your key contacts, think about how you first meet them (make sure to write down the names of someone who introduced you to this contact) + who they are and where they are from.
two things to look at
Two things to look at
  • Self-similarity principle –we tend to choose people who resemble us in terms of experience, training, worldview, and so on.
  • Proximity principle- people with similar background, experience, etc tend to live in the neighborhood, go to the same school, work at the same department, etc.
differential association theory1
Differential Association Theory
  • Criminal behavior is learned.
  • Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication.
  • The principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups.
differential association theory2
Differential Association Theory

4. When criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes

  • (a) techniques of committing the crime, which are sometimes very complicated, sometimes very simple;
  • (b) the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes.
differential association theory3
Differential Association Theory

5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favorable or unfavorable.

6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violations of law.

A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of the law
  • If DFC/DUC > 1.0,
  • DFC = weighted definitions

favorable to crime

  • DUC = weighted definitions

unfavorable to crime

differential association theory4
Differential Association Theory

7.Differential associations may vary in

  • frequency,
  • duration,
  • priority,
  • intensity.
differential association theory5
Differential Association Theory

8. The process of learning criminal behavior and anticriminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning.

9. While criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those general needs and values, since noncriminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values.

ronald akers central concepts of differential reinforcement theory
Ronald Akers: Central concepts of Differential Reinforcement Theory
  • Differential association (groups provide major social context for learning)
  • Definitions (attitudes/meanings)
  • Differential reinforcement (anticipated/actual rewards and punishments)
  • Imitation
main concepts
Main Concepts
  • Differential associationrefers to direct association and interaction with others who engage in certain kinds of behavior or express norms, values, and attitudes supportive of such behavior, as well as the indirect association and identification with more distant reference groups .
main concepts1
Main Concepts
  • Definitionsare one’s own orientations, rationalizations, justifications, excuses, and other attitudes that define the commission of an act as relatively more right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable, justified or unjustified, appropriate or inappropriate.
  • General Definitions - include religious, moral, and other conventional values and norms that are favorable to conforming behavior
  • Specific Definitions orient the person to particular acts. Thus, one may believe that stealing is bad, but stealing from bad people/drug dealers is O.K.
definitions unfavorable to crime
Definitions Unfavorable to Crime
  • “Crime doesn’t pay.”
  • “Marijuana causes brain damage and leads to cocaine and heroin.”
  • “Turn the other cheek when insulted.”
  • “Always be a law abiding citizen and you’ll be respected.”
  • “Don’t drink and drive – you can hurt someone.”
  • “Don’t throw your life away by breaking the law!”
  • “Sinners will be damned for eternity.”
  • “Never rat on a fellow criminal or hold out on them.”
definitions favorable to crime
Definitions Favorable to Crime
  • “The Justice Department should be going after real criminals, not me!”
  • “It’s technically not sex if there isn’t penetration and if you don’t touch her!”
  • “I can drive after five beers, no problem.”
  • “If someone questions your manhood, you have to

stand up for yourself.”

main concepts2
Main concepts
  • Differential Reinforcementrefers to the balance of anticipated or actual rewards and punishments that follow
  • Whether individuals will refrain from or commit a crime at any given time depends on the balance of past, present, and anticipated future rewards and punishments for their actions.
main concepts3
Main concepts
  • Imitation refers to the engagement in behavior after the direct or indirect (e.g. in media depictions) observation of similar behavior by others
  • Whether or not the behavior modeled by others will be imitated is affected by the characteristics of the models, the behavior observed, and the observed consequences of the behavior
white collar crime
White-collar crime
  • Introduced by Edwin H. Sutherland during his presidential address at the American Sociological Society Meeting in 1939
  • White-collar crime “may be defined approximately as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” (p. 9)
occupational crime
Occupational Crime
  • Occupational crime occurs when crimes are committed to promote personal interests
  • Crimes that fall into this category include altering books by accountants and overcharging or cheating clients by lawyers
sutherland s explanation
Sutherland’s explanation
  • College graduate without history of criminal behavior
  • High level aspirations/ambitions
  • Aren't in deviant peers groups, and aren't poor
  • They live well-ordered lives for the most part;
  • They are well respected at work and in community
  • Cheating clients by lawyers
  • New attitudes, drives, and rationalizations
sutherland s explanation1
Sutherland’s explanation
  • Many major corporations require their employees to lie, cheat, steal and betray customers, competitors, inspectors and other employees
  • If the company steals from customers; if the company violates pollution laws; if the company converts pension plans to corporate purpose, the moral base is lost and, being lost, renders the company fair game to the dis-enchanted employee
  •  Follow the group/ leave/outlier
question to think
Question to think….
  • Where did the first criminal come from?