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Reinforcing positive or negative behavior in Social Theories

What are the effects of positive and negative reinforcement on crime in both conflict theory and social control theory?

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With social control theory, individuals that are raised in an environment that espouses the ideals and norms of society will lead a life of non-criminality because of the positive reinforcement of social norms throughout life and negative consequences for behavior that is outside of the norm. Therefore, individuals are taught through positive reinforcement and rewarded for behavior that conforms to societal norms while being punished for negative behavior, which reinforces the societal norms by punishing a violation of these norms. The effect that this theory has on criminal behavior is that once a person has been indoctrinated into the thought process of adhering to the norms of society he or she will then accept these norms to acquire wealth, love, and other necessities through legal means that prevent the descent into subculture criminal means of obtaining the wants and pleasures of life. In essence the urge or desire to engage in criminal behavior is removed by the adherence to social norms through social control taught by parents, family members, and authority figures since inception.

An example of Social Control would be a child that is born in a neighborhood that is plagued by crime with gangs and drug dealing a normal daily activity in their area. Although, the child is born in a subculture part of society if the child's parents adhere to the Social Control Theory he or she will receive the positive reinforcement for behavior that adheres to this theory. As the child ages he or she will be rewarded for avoiding the crime spots in the neighborhood and refusing to use drugs while the child would be punished for behavior that is counter to the social norms such as ...

Solution Summary

The use of positive or negative reinforcement of normal behavior or subculture behavior is discussed in this solution, and how it affects the behavior of children in households or neighborhoods plagued by crime.