Social Leanring Theories and its Effects on Juvenile Delinquency

Topics: Observational learning, Bobo doll experiment, Psychology Pages: 5 (1450 words) Published: February 3, 2014


Social Learning Theories and its Effect on Juvenile Delinquency Bryan Johnson
University Online
CJUS XXXX-XXX – Juvenile Justice
Instructor James Dean
December 10, 2012



This paper briefly explores the Social Learning Theory and its effect on juvenile delinquency. The paper opens with a brief history of the Social Learning Theory and then goes on to discuss the concepts that are at its core. The paper then merges with a discussion on both actual violence and media violence and how they affect our youth. It discusses the fact that when children observe violent behavior, they are compelled to imitate it and become violent themselves.


Social Learning Theories and its Effect on Juvenile Delinquency

The Social Learning Theory, authored by Albert Bandura in 1977, has become the most prominent theory of learning and development. (Cherry, 2012). The key element that other theories lacked at the time was the social element. Bandura argued that individuals can learn new behaviors by observing other people which is also known as observational learning. (Cherry, 2012). Albert Bandura stated that, "Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." (Cherry,2012). The Social Learning Theory has three main concepts that it is centered around. (Cherry, 2012). The first is Observational Learning. Bandura demonstrated this concept with the famous Bobo Doll Experiment which showed that children imitate and learn the same behaviors in which they have observed in adult models. (Bandura, 1961). The Bobo Doll experiment allowed children observe an adult acting out violence on the bobo doll, and later, when the children were allowed to enter the room by themselves, they imitated that same behavior. (Bandura, 1961). “If children observe aggression and see that it is approved or rewarded, they will likely react violently during a similar incident.” (Siegel, 2008). Bandura stated that there were three models of observational learning. (Cherry,2012). The first model is a Live Model which acts out or demonstrates a certain behavior. The second model is a Verbal Instructional Model which describes and demonstrates the behavior. Lastly, the third model is the SOCIAL LEARNING 3 Symbolic Model which incorporates real or pretend characters that act out the behavior, for example, in books, movies, music, and other media. (Sincero, 2011). The second concept in the theory is the fact that mental states are important to learning. (Sincero, 2011). This concept states that environmental reinforcement is not the only factor that affects behavior and learning. Bandura labeled this fact as Intrinsic Reinforcement which he described as internal reward which would be modeled in things like a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and pride. (Cherry,2012) Lastly, the third concept states that the observed behavior does not necessarily cause a change in behavior...
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