How do Differential Association Theories best Demonstrate that Criminal Behaviour is a ‘Learned Behaviour’

1007 Words 5 Pages
Differential association theory was Sutherland’s major sociological contribution to criminology, similar in importance to strain theory and social control theory. These theories all explain deviance in terms of the individual’s social relationship. Sutherland’s theory make tracks from the pathological perspective and biological perspective by features the cause of crime to the social context of individuals. “He rejected biological determinism and the extreme individualism of psychiatry, as well as economic explanation of crime. His search for alternative understanding of crime led to developmental of differential association theory. In contrast to both classical and biological theories, differential association theory pose no obvious …show more content…
That is, a person’s action are in part decided by what they perceive the consequences of their action or lack of action will be. “Whether individuals will refrain from or commit a crime at any given time (and whether they will continues or desist from doing it in the future) depends on the past, present and anticipated future rewards and punishment for their actions” (Akers and Sellers, 2004:87).
According to Akers and Sellers (2004), reinforcement of attitudes, beliefs and values occurs through both differential association and imitation can be either positive or negative. Positive reinforcement occurs when actions are rewarded through positive reactions to the behaviour as well as through positive consequences. Positive reinforcement can increase the probability of criminal behaviour through these rewards. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand involves the removal of negative outcomes or responses, and this may also increased probability of taking certain action.
The degree to which differential reinforcement occurs is related to the degree, incidence and like hood of its occurrence. That is, reinforcement is most likely to
Open Document