Social Learning & Disorganization Theories
Social learning theory: is the theory that people learn new behavior through overt reinforcement or
punishment, or via observational learning of the social factors in their environment. If people observe
positive, desired outcomes in the observed behavior, then they are more likely to model, imitate, and adopt
the behavior themselves. Social learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context.
It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning,
imitation and modeling. Learning can occur without a change in behavior. Behaviorists say that learning
has to be represented by a permanent change in behavior, in contrast social learning theorists say that
because people can learn through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their
performance (Omrod, 1999).
Julian Rotter moved away from theories based on psychosis and behaviorism, and developed a learning
theory. In Social Learning and Clinical Psychology (1954), Rotter suggests that the effect of behavior has
an impact on the motivation of people to engage in that specific behavior. People wish to avoid negative
consequences, while desiring positive results or effects. If one expects a positive outcome from a behavior,
or thinks there is a high probability of a positive outcome, and then they will be more likely to engage in
that behavior. The behavior is reinforced, with positive outcomes, leading a person to repeat the behavior.
Here is an example of social learning… a student researches her homework online, but despite her good
intentions, the over whelming amount of Instant Messages sent by her friends leaves her unable to finish
her assignment in time and gets her grounded for the weekend.
Social disorganization theory: focuses on the relationship between neighborhood...