When ordinary folks turn into crooks and criminals, it’s sometimes because they learn from the wrong crowds. Edwin Sutherland’s pioneering work in criminology greatly expanded our understanding of how this happens exactly. His theory of “differential association” suggests that there are 9 tenets to learning criminal behavior — and that we learn it almost like we learn anything else.
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Today we know that we are also influenced by genetic factors, hormones and special circumstances. Watch Robert Sapolsky explains the McNaughton rule and how brain damage can explain criminal behavior.
Read the tragic case of Charles Whitman who, on August 1 1966, took the life of his mother, his wife and many innocent others, before he was executed. In a letter he wrote before the tragedy unfolded, he asked to check on his brain stating that something must have gone terribly wrong inside it. An autopsy after his death revealed a large tumor inside his head. His story, if true, is testimony that not only the environment, but also biological causes may be responsible for crimes that happen.
Watch Asch’s Conformity Experiment to understand how easy people conform to group behavior.
Learn more about social learning theory or watch our video on Bandura’s Bobo Beatdown Experiments
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Differential association theory (Sutherland)
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00:46 9 Precepts of differential association
02:47 What do you think?
03:08 Patrons credit
#criminology #socialscience #sproutslearning #sociallearning