Criminal Theory

Apply the issues or theory to the specific criminal or delinquent behavior and explain how the theory accounts for the existence of the behavior.

Behaviorism and Social Learning Theory to violent and sexual behaviors shown through the media, television, and radio. You don’t have to explain the theories but just how the theories and delinquent behaviors relate.

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Sample Answer

Criminal Theory

Behaviorism and social learning theory are examples of theories focusing on understanding the factors influencing how people behave. The two theories can help to explain violent and sexual behaviors shown through the media, television, and radio (Rumjaun & Narod, 2020). Although the two theories take different approaches to explaining behavior, they are ideal for explaining the factors that influence criminal behavior.

Behaviorism theory focuses on the influence of the environment on behavior. Triplett (2015) argues that behavior is developed through an adaptability mechanism, whereby people tend to adapt to their environment. On the other hand, the social learning theory is based on the understanding that people develop criminal tendencies through interaction with others. Triplett (2015) describes social learning theory as a criminal theory that stemmed from the idea of symbolic interactionism. According to Triplett (2015), symbolic interactionism shows that the meaning of symbols is achieved through interaction with others. The consumption of media content on television, radio, or online triggers the mind to subconsciously influence behaviors.

The media is a vital tool for informing the members of society. With their extensive network combined with the growth in internet technology, the media has been at the forefront of exposing crime incidents. In the media, violent and sexual behaviors are practiced mainly by youths who commit crimes as gang members or individually. Based on the media explanation, young people from extreme socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to engage in violent and sexual behaviors. In line with the argument presented in behaviorism theory, young people brought up in violent neighborhoods such as Detroit, Cleveland, and Memphis are more likely to embrace criminal behavior in the future. With a violent crime rate of approximately 2,057 per 100,000, Detroit was the country’s most violent city (Lin, Zhang & Jiang, 2022). The high rate of violent crimes influences many young people to perceive violence as the best communication method. By growing up in Detroit, young people are likely to view gang life as the best way to adapt to the surrounding violence and boost their safety.

On the other hand, the concept of social learning theory shows that violent and sexual crimes are learned through constant interaction with criminals or the content that promote criminal behavior. Henry, Flynn & Powell (2020) points out that the growth of technology has created easy access to content and materials that promote violent and sexual crime among young people. For instance, violent movies can negatively influence young children who consume the content. When young people are exposed to violent content from an early age, it increases their propensity to embrace criminal behavior. The social learning theory notes that negative behavior is acquired through constant interaction with the symbols. Young people are likely to imitate the characters they interact with in movies, video games, and real life, increasing their chance of engaging in violent criminal behavior.

Behaviorism and social learning theory show how violent and sexual behaviors are acquired through adaptation and imitation. Behaviorism shows that young people are likely to embrace violence as an adaptation mechanism when raised in violent neighborhoods such as Detroit. In the same way, young people who interact with content promoting violent and sexual crimes early in life are likely to embrace the behavior subconsciously.



Henry, N., Flynn, A., & Powell, A. (2020). Technology-facilitated domestic and sexual violence: A review. Violence Against Women26(15-16), 1828-1854.

Lin, X., Zhang, J., & Jiang, S. (2022). In Detroit, spatial and temporal crime correlations: Evidence from spatial dynamic panel data models. International Review of Law and Economics, 106100.

Rumjaun, A., & Narod, F. (2020). Social Learning Theory—Albert Bandura. In Science education in theory and practice (pp. 85–99). Springer, Cham.

Triplett, R. (2015). Crime, Social Learning Theory of.

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