The Social Learning Theory

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Pages: 7

“The effect of childhood on behavior according to the Learning theory”
Could parents be causing their children to become criminals? There are many different theories that seek to explain the relationship between childhood trauma and deviant behavior in adulthood. One of them is the social learning theory discovered by Albert Bandura in 1977. This theory is defined as “a set of processes divided into two phases and allowing the individual observer to memorize what he perceives for later use” (Bandura qtd. in Paignon et al. par.1).The learning theory consists of four processes, but the two that will be examined are retention and reproduction. Retention is the ability to retain the behavior learned without the presence of the model, and reproduction
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The social learning theory assumes that “modeling influences operate principally through their informative function, and that observers acquire mainly symbolic representations of modeled events” (Bandura 16). This theory is grounded by the social assumption that people learn by observing, without the need to take actual notes, or to follow specific steps. This theory also recognizes that “human behavior is transmitted, whether deliberately or inadvertently” (Bandura 1). In some cases the observation is goal oriented, where the subject is observing the model on the aspiration to replicate the same behavior. In other cases if the person is extremely exposed to the model’s behavior, then it is learned subconsciously. The aspect of the learning theory that connect to criminal behavior through parental influences is the idea that” individuals learn to model the behaviors of others. Because of their salient role and formal status” (Gallus et al., par.6). In the same matter that, the learner might learn, the salient model might teach purposefully or accidentally. A real life example of the …show more content…
The learning theory is based on the assumption that people learn by observation, so it’s not a surprise that what a child see is what, it remembers and eventually replicates. During the retention phase the parent’s behavior to the child is the most effective because they are still in the process on encoding information. Whether the behavior is positive or negative, they will encoded due to the fact that they are not fully developed cognitively and they are still following their salient model. However, in the reproduction phase the child’s amount of interaction with the parent is most influential. The child has already retained the information and they need help in reproducing it. In some cases, the parents purposefully help them without the idea that they would use it negatively, or the parents neglect them without realizing that this could be harmful as well. Either way the parent’s behavior and interaction with the child does connect to criminal behavior. Therefore, in some cases, whether purposeful or not, parents are turning their children into