The social learning theory is among the various development theories developed by different scholars. The social learning theory was developed by Albert Bandura in the 1960s. This theory stipulates that behaviors are learned through observation and modeling. According to Bandura, new values, behaviors, and attitudes can be acquired through the social learning theory. Various factors are necessary for effective modeling, and those include attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation.
Since values, behaviors, and attitude are acquired through observation, the level of attention to the details of what is happening greatly influences the learning process. High attention means that the learner is able to capture everything that is going on. Retention depends on the ability to remember what one paid attention to. On the other hand, reproduction entails the ability to imitate or carry out the activities that were observed and retained. Finally, motivation refers to having a good reason as to why one should imitate what was observed.
Social learning theory adequately explains how delinquency comes about. Delinquency refers to minor crimes, more so those committed by young people. Social learning theory stipulates that values, behaviors, and attitudes are acquired through observation and modeling. Therefore, as young people observe their peers or other people participate in delinquent behavior, they are tempted to replicate the same behavior in the future as long as there is adequate motivation and ability to do so. For example, a student who observes his/her friend cheating on an examination and gets high grades may also be tempted to do so in the future with the hope of attaining high grades as well. Therefore, they emulated the behavior, attitude, and values as acquired through observation and modeling as stipulated by the social learning theory.