The Social learning theory was first described by Cornell Montgomery using “four main stages of imitation” (i.e. close contact, imitation of superiors, understanding of concepts, role model behavior) in the 19th century. This was then expanded further by different sociologists such as Julian Rotter and Albert Bandura and defined the social learning theory and its aspects.
Definition for the Social learning theory: “Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action” (Bandura, 1977).
According to the above definition most of the time behavior of a person is determined by the society that he or she is living. People rarely come up with their own behavior by trial and error method and even if they do so it is a time consuming and exhausting activity. Instead they observe the society members and note their successes and failures and considered behaviors which had provided satisfactory outcome for the relevant individual. They acquire new behaviors based on the successful behaviors of the society members. The behavior can be legal or illegal, harmless or harmful or accepted or unaccepted by the society, however shown to have some benefits to the person who engage in acts related to behaviour.
Back ground: Bert is a 28 year-old male who has been found guilty and sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for a break-in at a motor factory. He had a troubled childhood and family history of crimes and had been engaging in criminal acts such as stealing from age of 14. He had been caught and punished for