Burgess and Akers also recognized the importance of additional behavioral components and principles of learning theory, such as classical conditioning, discriminative stimuli, schedules of reinforcement, and other mechanisms. Studies show that individuals who are reinforced for their crime are more likely to engage in subsequent crime, especially when they are in situations similar to those that were previously reinforced.
The Imitation of Criminal Models Behavior is not only a product of beliefs and reinforcements or punishments that individuals receive.
Social learning theory postulates that there are three mechanisms by which individuals learn to engage in crime: differential reinforcementbeliefs, and modeling. For example, an individual who witnesses someone they respect committing a crime, who is then reinforced for that crime, is then more likely to commit a crime themselves.
The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favorable or unfavorable. The research paper concludes with a brief offering of suggestions for future research and a summary of the importance of social learning theory as a general theory in the criminological literature.
Social learning theory has its roots in psychology and was shaped greatly by psychologist Albert Bandura.