Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bandura, Albert: Social Learning Theory
Georgia V. Spiropoulos
Albert Bandura's (1977) social learning theory (B-SLT) is a general theory of human behavior that posits that cognitions, behavior, and environment interact to explain the acquisition, instigation, and maintenance of criminal behavior. While Bandura did not present his theory as a criminological theory per se, B-SLT can be applied to criminal behavior, as done in this entry. As a learning theory, B-SLT assumes that criminal behavior is not innate but is learned as people navigate through their environment. It is the nature of this learning process that differentiates B-SLT from other learning theories (such as radical behavioral theory) and other social learning theories (such as Ronald Akers's social learning theory). B-SLT proposes that criminal behavior is both directly and indirectly learned. In other words, B-SLT posits that people directly learn criminal behavior when they are rewarded for it (i.e., direct reinforcement) and people indirectly learn criminal behavior when they observe ...