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Case Study: Social Learning Theory - Essay Example

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A sixteen year old girl commits the heinous crime of murder, albeit as an accomplice rather than in the first degree. She expresses no remorse over her actions when she is caught, is defiant and unmanageable and is found to have multiple injection marks on her arm indicating extended drug abuse…
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Download file to see previous pages She also seems to think that the victim was asking for it, so to speak, as he had propositioned her on the street. All of these facts make it very tempting to incriminate and punish the girl without further ado but there are so many anomalies in the case, along with the expression of predictable behavior of an ill tempered, bad behaving teenager that it requires further attention and insight into the mind and psychological state of the girl.
An analysis of the event itself concludes a few things: a) the victim was male; b) Mary approached the victim so her claim that he propositioned her without open invitation is made up; c) the girls took his wallet and watch after killing him and without any comment-worthy reaction such as horror or guilt fled the scene d) she was very easily caught.
A sixteen year old girl is still young enough to be living with her parents but she is not so young that she is unable to make the correct choice between something so obviously right or wrong. The fact that she did make such a terribly wrong choice obviously indicates that she is either coming for a very bad, twisted past or is stuck in some currently dire circumstance. She could have acted out of self defense – and hence her lack of remorse – but that is ruled out easily by studying the victim. She was actually an active part of a cold blooded murder; she was remorseless and defiant; she obviously seems to be struggling with deep rooted psychological problems. To understand her behavior, the help of the Social Learning Theory is solicited. According to the Albert Bandura (1989), who is one of the founding fathers of this theory, it studies “the prominent roles played by vicarious, symbolic and self-regulatory processes in psychological conditioning”(Jarvis, Holford & Griffin, 2005). It acknowledges the role played by the human will and sense of perception in receiving external stimuli and reacting to them. As such, the SLT explains human behavior as a consequence of cognitive, behavioral and environmental factors and their interaction with each other (Jarvis, Holford & Griffin). The SLT claims that learning occurs throughout the lifespan of a person and all his behavior is exhibited as a result of that learning. It is also displayed at the time of an event such as this one in which quick action is taken. One person’s reaction to certain stimuli will be different compared to another person because humans have the ability to think and perceive and thus react to things based on their own perceptions. These perceptions obviously differ from person to person and therefore their reactions will also. So to shed light on Mary’s case, it is important to understand what kinds of things have influenced her own perceptions and therefore monitor how she will proactively to reactively do things. . The SLT operates on the Stimulus-Organism-Response model of behavior, whereby a response is generated to a stimulus only when it has been tampered with by the cognitive and emotional state of the organism (Lawson, 2008). The outside stimulus or the external environment is only as relevant as the symbolic representations inside the person’s head of it. This internal understanding is actually the reality and it shapes, or produces, behavior. Mary had a very troubled childhood. She was the second eldest of four children. Neither of the parents was attentive or affectionate enough to be termed as a good parent. Mary, or her siblings for that matter, was never given even rudimentary attention that a child naturally seeks from her parents. From a very young age, she had observed distance in relationships, especially mother-daughter and father-daughter ones. That obviously transferred into her other family ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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