Social learning theory of crime

Updated: 5/12/2020
Social learning theory of crime

Storyboard Text

  • The day before, Mia was playing a new video game that she got for her birthday and she was asked by her friend who was her favourite character in the game. To which she replied "Sarah, she is my role model".
  • A few days later, Mia is still playing the video game and she unconsciously decides that she would like to be like Sarah (she goes through a process of identification) as she respects her and looks us to her.
  • It is late at night and Mia is still up playing her game, she is observing Sarah's behaviour.
  • Mia sees Sarah acting violently towards others in the game where other characters in the game clap at her for this behaviour. Mia is motivated through vicarious reinforcement and decides that she also wants people to clap at her as she believes that imitation will give her the same rewards.
  • Mia's behaviour is strengthened through direct reinforcement as her brother rewards her violent behaviour by looking up to her as a role model. This is a reward to Mia as she receives continual reinforcement.
  • This reinforcement leads to Mia's violent behaviour becoming internalised which means that it becomes part of her natural behaviour and personality regardless of the consequences (even though she gets told off by her parents for her violent behaviour).