Ronald Akers Biography Essay

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Biography Ronald L. Akers is an American criminologist who was born in New Albany, Indiana on January 7th, 1939. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1966. After graduation, Akers was a professor at several universities. In 1980, he became a professor of sociology at the University of Florida and the director for the Center for Studies in Criminology and Law (Bernard). Ronald L. Akers ideas concerning his theory of crime, initially called the “differential association-reinforcement model,” developed over time. The original version was comprised and eventually published in 1966 with American sociologist Robert L. Burgess in A Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory of Criminal Behavior (Bernard). He was inspired by American criminologist and psychologist, Edwin Sutherland and B.F. Skinner. Sutherland established the differential theory of crime, believing that criminal acts are most likely to occur in social settings where…show more content…
The social learning theory of Albert Bandura, also from the United States, expanded the ideas of operant conditioning to include modeling in the learning process (Bernard). Akers applied this idea and began to examine television and motion pictures to see what impact the behaviors depicted had on individuals. He began to argue that criminal behavior is acquired through modeling and social interaction, as suggested by his peers, but it was maintained through the consequences of at behavior on both social and nonsocial levels (Bernard). According to Akers, social learning mediates the effects of social structural factors on deviant and criminal behavior. His theory was tested in several studies that involved delinquency and cigarette, drug, and alcohol use. The American Society of Criminology awarded Ronald Akers the Edwin H. Southerland Award in 1988 for his contributions to theory and research

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