Origins of Crime: Biological, Developmental, or Situational


Prior to beginning the assignment, review Chapters 4 and 5 in your textbook, where risk factors for criminal behavior are covered from a biological, developmental, and situational perspective.
Keeping your own client in mind (TED BUNDY), please read the chapters, and in this assignment include the following:

Assess the role (briefly) that all three (biological, developmental, and situational) perspectives play in influencing criminal behavior.
Choose one of the three perspectives (biological, developmental, or situational).
Evaluate the relationship between your chosen perspective and criminal behavior.
Illustrate a link between your clients crimes and your chosen perspective based on the client you chose for your Comprehensive Case Study Report final paper.

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Be sure to use examples from the textbook and your clients case to support your assertions.
The Origins of Crime: Biological, Developmental, or Situational paper

Must be three to four double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) according to APA Style.
Must include a separate title page with the following:

Title of paper
Students name
Course name and number
Instructors name
Date submitted

Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your paper.
Must use at least one scholarly, peer-reviewed, credible source in addition to the course text.


Learning and Situational/
Environmental Influences
on Criminal Behavior

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Learning Outcomes

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

Analyze the early theories of behavior and their influence on the study of learning and criminal

Discuss why social learning theory is fundamental to the understanding of criminal behavior.

Explain the theory of differential association.

Discuss why social cognitive theory is fundamental to understanding criminal behavior.

Summarize situational/environmental influences and their impact on behavior.

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Section 4.1 Introduction

Introductory Case Study: The Hillside Strangler
The Hillside Strangler terrorized Los Angeles during 1977 and 1978, when at least 10 women
were kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered over a 4-month period. The defendants in the
case were cousins Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi. Although both were psychopathic and
sexually sadistic, there was also an interesting family dynamic to their relationship. Buono was
nearly 20 years older than his cousin, more socially adept, and the dominant figure in their rela-
tionship. Buono had an extensive criminal history and kept women involved in prostitution and
sexual slavery. He exposed his younger cousin to these behaviors, and soon their pimping and
sexual appetites escalated to murder. The two quarreled after the initial police investigation,
and Bianchi fled California shortly after the Los Angeles murders and committed an additional
two murders in the state of Washington before finally getting arrested in 1979. Both men were
sentenced to life in prison.

As you read this chapter, consider the following questions regarding this case:

1. Do you think Bianchi would have committed these murders had it not been for
Buonos influence?

2. Consider social learning theory with regard to Bianchi committing two more crimes
without Buono. Which of the four factors of social learning theory can be applied?

3. What situational factors do you believe may have influenced Buono and Bianchi to
commit those horrible crimes?

4.1 Introduction
The criminal psychology field has invested heavily in attempting to understand the causes of
criminal behavior, such as the crimes committed in the Hillside Strangler example. Through-
out the history of the field, theorists have asserted that human behavior reflects forces of
nature or forces of nurture, depending on ones perspective. Today it is almost universally
recognized that both individual and environmental factors are important for understanding
behavior, including criminal behavior. Moreover, it is largely recognized that individual and
environmental factors often interact with and mutually reinforce each other.

Different theoretical models describe the relationship between variables and outcomes,
and researchers have concluded that there is no single path to criminal behavior. This chap-
ter explores various theories that help us understand the influences on behavior, as well as
situational/environmental influences and their relationship to criminal behavior. We will
begin by discussing some of the theories of learned behavior and later will explore how
situational factors may influence criminal behavior.

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Section 4.2 Theories of Behaviorism

4.2 Theories of Behaviorism
Though research on the stimuli for and consequences of behavior hasnt focused on criminal
behavior specifically, the research helps in understanding the causes of criminal behavior
and why individuals learn these types of behaviors. Behaviorism is a social learningbased
theory that suggests behaviors are the product of conditioning that occurs as an individual
interacts with the environment. Behaviorism rejects the notion that internal, person-specific
factors (e.g., emotional expression, self-regulation, intelligence) are the drivers of behavior.
As a result, individual-level constructs are minimized or excluded in favor of learning from
ones environment.

However, before the behaviorist school of thought was officially coined, several psychologists
and criminologists developed theories of learned behavior to describe the study of circum-
stances under which a response and a cue stimulus become connected (Miller & Dollard,
1941, p. 1). These theories are crucial to understanding the basis of behavior.

Pavlovs Classical Conditioning Theory
Ivan Pavlov (18491936) is perhaps best known for his theory of classical conditioning,
which is said to occur when two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response
in a person or an animal. Pavlov conducted studies in which he measured and conditioned
salivation (and other physiological responses) in dogs to respond to neutral stimuli. His work
provided a basis for later behaviorists, who focused on the consequences of behavior (rather
than the eliciting stimuli).

Thorndikes Law of Effect
Other early studies of learning were conducted by Edward Thorndike (18741949), who
argued that the consequences that follow behavior help learning. Thorndike developed the
law of effect, which states that the consequences of behavior serve to strengthen or weaken
its continuation. A baby who is fed a bottle of milk every time he or she cries (the behavior)
will continue to cry when he or she feels hungry so that the parent will produce the bottle (the
consequence). In other words, the consequence, because it is satisfying or pleasurable, serves
to strengthen the crying behavior. To put it another way, when the response to a stimulus is
positive, the connection between behavior and response is strengthened; when the response
to the stimulus results in pain, the connection is weakened.

Watsons Theory of Behavior
Though Pavlov and Thorndike began exploring learning theories before him, John Watson
(18781958) was the founder of the behaviorism school in psychology, initiating the movement
in 1913. He showed that the idea of classical conditioning could be applied to humans, via the
famous and controversial Little Albert experiment. Visit the following link to learn more about
this experiment:

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Section 4.2 Theories of Behaviorism

One of the most famous and frequently cited quotations in psychology comes from Watson

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to
bring them up in and Ill guarantee to take any one at random and train him to
become any type of specialist I might selectdoctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-
chief, and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants,
tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. (p. 82)

An important legacy of behaviorism for understand-
ing crime is a blank slate conceptualization of human
behavior; Watson asserted this concept. The idea of
a blank slate, or tabula rasa, which is attributed to
the philosophers John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rous-
seau, and John Dryden, is that people are born basi-
cally the same in terms of their innate abilities and
that experience molds their behaviors. The blank
slate is an optimistic worldview contrasting the idea
of widespread individual variation. The implica-
tion for understanding crime is that learning-based
theoretical approaches generally view the criminal
offender as an innately blank slate that is then cor-
rupted by negative or crime-inducing environmen-
tal features and personal connections.

Skinners Operant Conditioning
B. F. Skinner (19041990) was a psychologist widely known for his research on operant con-
ditioning, a learning theory that suggests behavior is produced and modified based on the
reinforcements and punishments it elicits. Over time, a particular behavior is paired with
specific consequences that either strengthen or weaken the behavior. There are four types
of reinforcement related to operant conditioning: positive reinforcement, negative reinforce-
ment, positive punishment, and negative punishment.

Positive reinforcement is a type of reinforcement that involves a behavioral response fol-
lowed by a rewarding or reinforcing stimulus (also known as a reinforcer). The rewarding
stimulus serves to strengthen the behavioral response. For instance, children who display
good behavior (response) are likely to receive praise, warmth, and affection (reinforcers) from
their parents, which serves to further encourage the good behavior. Negative reinforcement
is a type of reinforcement that involves the strengthening of a behavioral response through
the removal of an aversive stimulus. For instance, a child who receives a stern lecture from his
or her parents for neglecting chores can end the lecturing (aversive stimulus) by performing
the chores (response) in the first place.

In positive punishment, a particular behavior or response is decreased or weakened when it
is followed by an aversive stimulus. A stern stare from parents (aversive stimulus) will often

Jacek_Sopotnicki/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Learning-based theories assert that we
start as a blank slate when were born
and learn negative behaviors from our
environments as we develop.

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

immediately stop the problem behavior (response) that a child is exhibiting. In negative pun-
ishment, a behavior or response is weakened through the removal of a valued stimulus. For
example, if a parent prohibits the use of a valued item (such as a smartphone) because his
or her child broke curfew, the child may learn not to break curfew again. The removal of the
smartphone (valued stimulus) will decrease the likelihood that the child will continue to stay
out late (behavior). See Table 4.1 for further examples of reinforcement and punishment.

Table 4.1: Examples of reinforcement and punishment

Stimulus Operant response

(reinforcement or
punishment) Implications

Teacher promises
a sticker for good
behavior in class.

Student behaves well
in class.

Student receives a

Student is more likely
to behave well in future

Teacher ridicules
wrong answers spoken

Student answers only
when sure of being

Student is not ridiculed.

Student is more likely
to answer only when
sure of being right.

Teacher presents a

Student talks to

Positive punishment.
Teacher has student
clean cupboards.

Student is less likely to
talk during a lecture.

Teacher promises field
trip for good behavior.

Student misbehaves. Negative punishment.
Privilege of going on
field trip is withdrawn.

Student is less likely
to misbehave before a
field trip.

Operant conditioning played an important role in updating criminological explanations of
crime that used social learning theory, particularly those relating to the role of reinforcement
in perpetuating behavior.

Given these basic definitions, we can see the parallels between behavioral theory and the
criminal justice process. For many people who live their entire lives without an arrest, the
mere potential threat of punishment is sufficient to deter criminal behavior. This is known
as deterrence. For serious criminal offenders, unfortunately, the threat of punishment does
little to discourage subsequent criminal acts.

4.3 Social Learning Theory
Among conventional wisdom and scholarly researchers, social learning theory is a fundamen-
tal part of understanding crime. It is so significantly related to crime that psychologists and
sociologists alike made social learning theory a central part of their theoretical platforms.
Few other conceptual areas can claim such universality.

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

Foundations of Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory suggests that behavior is motivated by the effects it produces and is
largely based on mimicry of behaviors to which one is frequently exposed. It gives credibility
to the common saying that birds of a feather flock together, which means that individuals
generally behave like those with whom they associate.

The main reason the theory is popular is that so much of childhood is based on learning.
In the home, children are continuously exposed to behaviors and verbal instruction from
their parents and siblings about the appropriateness of various behaviors. Although parents
often do their best to intentionally inculcate prosocial behaviors and values in their children,
much of this inculcation occurs in an indirect, almost subconscious way. (Remember that the
terms prosocial and antisocial do not mean extroverted or introverted. Prosocial means that a
persons behavior is oriented toward making a positive contribution to society; for example,
picking up litter in a local park. Antisocial means that a persons behavior does not conform
to the norms, rules, and laws of an orderly society. An example is dumping litter in the park
instead of in the trash receptacle, an offense that may result in a fine or criminal prosecution,
depending on what was dumped.) What this means is that much of learning occurs by obser-
vation and exposure to situational contexts.

For instance, parents who work each day, prepare their clothing and lunch the night before
going to work, leave early in the morning to arrive on time for work, invest their time and
energy in productive labor in exchange for income and benefits, and generally invest in work
as a social institution are displayingeach and every daywhat it means to be a functioning
member of society. Although this message may or may not be internalized by their children,
because the parents are actively displaying good behavior, the children are more likely to
learn. Learning occurs directly and indirectly, from observation of and interaction with role
models who perform the behavior to be learned.

The identical process occurs for negative behaviors. Consider parents who cannot hold down
a job for more than a few weeks at a time. Being unable or unwilling to meet the responsibili-
ties of their jobs, they either get fired or quit. Once at home, these parents vehemently cri-
tique their former boss, lament their unemployment, and engage in unhealthy, unproductive

behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, drug selling, gam-
bling) to quell their boredom and meet the financial
needs of their family. Although these parents might
simultaneously praise the value and importance of
work, their behavior tells another story, and their
children are exposed to negative behaviors that
are internalized and unfortunately mimicked. This
scenario can be made much worse. The parents
can abuse or neglect their children, introduce them
to drugs or alcohol, engage in violence within the
home, or commit any combination of these crimes.
These behaviors are observed, internalized, and
unfortunately learned.

Parents act as socialization agents, or people who
contribute to socializationbut so do teachers,
coworkers, and peers, or persons of a similar status

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

According to social learning theory,
much of learning occurs by observation
and exposure to situational contexts,
including influence from peers.

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

in an individuals social environment. Whenever there is exposure to other individuals, there
are opportunities to learn and imitate. Indeed, the very function of school is to instill the
knowledge and skills that are needed for survival in a particular society. The preponderance
of learning that occurs in our lives is positive; however, when exposure to antisocial individu-
als and criminogenic settings occurs, there are also opportunities to adopt certain negative

In the psychological study of crime, social learning theory is unique in that it was developed
and influenced by both psychologists and sociologists. And within American criminology, the
social learning approach has served as a core method of understanding and explaining crime.
Even though the term social learning theory was originally coined and developed by Albert
Bandura while he was researching and studying aggression (we will wait to discuss Banduras
findings until Chapter 6), the theory has become mostly associated with Ronald Akers. Crimi-
nologists Akers and Gary Jensen (2006), two of the leading proponents of social learning
theory, explain that it is

a general theory that offers an explanation of the acquisition, maintenance,
and change in criminal and deviant behavior that embraces social, non-
social, and cultural factors operating both to motivate and control criminal
behavior and both to promote and undermine conformity. (p. 38)

Akerss Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory
Akers developed his differential association-reinforcement theory based on sociologist
Edwin Sutherlands differential theory of crime, Skinners operant conditioning theory, and
Banduras social learning theory. Essentially, Akers argues that criminal behavior is learned
through both social and nonsocial reinforcements and that most learning of criminal behav-
ior occurs in social interactions with other people (as cited in Bernard, n.d., para. 3). Akers
outlined the four core elements in his theory: differential association, definitions, differential
reinforcement, and imitation.

Differential Association
Differential association refers to the varying associations or friendships and acquaintance-
ships that individuals directly and indirectly have with others. (Differential is a term that sug-
gests there are differences between individuals.)

Although differential association is a classic in sociological criminology, it is clearly a social
learning theory. Sutherlands work is important because it is an example of the ways that
scientific disciplines borrow concepts from one another and reinvent them with different
language. Subsequent social learning approaches are more rooted in psychology.

Sutherlands theory contains nine principles:

1. Delinquent behavior is learned, not inherited.
2. Delinquent behavior is learned through interaction with others by way of verbal or

nonverbal communication.
3. Learning occurs in intimate groups; it is in small, face-to-face gatherings that chil-

dren learn to commit crime.

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

4. In intimate groups, children learn
techniques for committing crime,
as well as the appropriate motives,
attitudes, and rationalizations. The
learning process involves expo-
sure not only to the techniques of
committing offenses but also to the
attitudes or rationalizations that
justify those acts.

5. The specific direction of motives
and drives is learned from defini-
tions of the legal code as being
favorable or unfavorable. (The term
definitions here refers to attitudes.)

6. A juvenile becomes delinquent due
to an excess of definitions favorable
to the violation of law over defini-
tions unfavorable to the violation of law. This sixth principle is the core of the theory.
Definitions favorable to the violation of law can be learned from both criminal and
noncriminal people.

7. The tendency toward delinquency will be affected by the frequency, duration, prior-
ity, and intensity of learning experiences. The longer, earlier, more intensely, and
more frequently youths are exposed to both positive and negative attitudes about
delinquency, the more likely it is that they will be influenced.

8. Learning delinquent behavior involves the same mechanisms involved in any other
learning. While the content of what is learned is different, the process for learning
any behavior is the same.

9. Criminal behavior and noncriminal behavior are expressions of the same needs and
values. In other words, the goals of delinquents and nondelinquents are similar. What
differs are the means they use to pursue their goals.

In the case of differential association, some individuals associate with many criminals, some
associate with criminals occasionally, and some never associate with criminals. These friend-
ships and acquaintanceships involve behaviors and the expression of values and beliefs that
support the behaviors. Importantly, differential association also includes indirect identi-
fication with reference groups outside of ones immediate contact, such as an individuals
involvement in an organization or online chat group. Although the person does not physically
have access to these associates, there is nevertheless the transmission and learning of values,
beliefs, and behaviors.

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images Plus

Sutherland posited that an individual will
learn criminal behaviors and rationalizations
for such behaviors from his or her intimate
groups, such as close friends.

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

Researchers theorize that differential association has greater effects on behavior depending
on the duration, frequency, intensity, and priority of the associations (see Figure 4.1). How
the duration, frequency, intensity, and priority of these associations predicts conventional or
criminal behavior depends on the characteristics of the persons with whom one associates.
For example, Schreck, Fisher, and Miller (2004) examined the relationship between friend-
ship networks and violent victimization among respondents from the National Longitudinal
Study of Adolescent Health. They found that adolescents and young adults who were popular
and well connected in conventional friendship networks were very unlikely to be victims of
a violent crime. A similar effect, albeit in the opposite direction, was found among those who
were popular, well-connected members of antisocial friendship networks: They were more
likely to be violently victimized.

See Spotlight: Research on Differential Association in the Workplace to explore how coworkers
and peers can have an effect on an individuals work ethic.

Figure 4.1: The parameters of differential association

Relationship parameters such as duration, intensity, priority, and frequency can help determine the
effect differential association will have on an individuals behavior.

Frequency Intensity




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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

Definitions refer to an individuals attitudes,
orientation, and rationalizations that charac-
terize the persons behavior and cast him or
her in moral or value-based terms. Put sim-
ply, definitions are a persons beliefs about or
moral evaluation of his or her behavior. Con-
sider this brief example: People who are part
of a partying friendship network like to drink
alcohol and use illegal drugs. When an indi-
vidual is with these substance-abusing friends,
he or she gives little thought or consideration
to the moral violations inherent in illegal drug
use. However, the same individual would likely
not engage in these behaviors or approve of
them if they were taking place around that
persons parents. The difference in these situ-
ations relates to the definitions that the indi-
vidual produces about his or her behavior.

There are three bases of definitions: conventional beliefs, positive beliefs, and neutralizing
beliefs. Conventional beliefs are those that are unfavorable toward committing crime and
favorable toward conformity. Positive beliefs are definitions by which an individual believes
that committing crime is permissible. Neutralizing beliefs are definitions by which an indi-
vidual justifies or provides excuses for why antisocial behavior is permissible (Akers & Jen-
nings, 2009).

Spotlight: Research on Differential Association in the Workplace
Research focusing on the work setting and delinquency demonstrates the value of differential
association. For instance, Gibson and Wright (2001) analyzed data from the Tri-Cities Adoles-
cent Employment Survey, which is a survey of students from eight high schools in northeastern
Tennessee. They found that workplace delinquencywhich included behaviors such as lying
on ones time card about the number of hours worked, shortchanging customers, giving away
goods or services for free, theft, using drugs or alcohol while on duty, and helping coworkers
steal employers propertywas predicted by coworker delinquency.

On the other hand, coworkers can exert a positive influence on their colleagues. Utilizing data
from the National Youth Survey, Wright and Cullen (2004) found that association with proso-
cial coworkers helps dismantle delinquent peer networks and results in reductions in delin-
quency and drug use.

Taken together, these findings indicate that differential association with bad or good influ-
ences at work has important effects on whether an individual is commensurately well behaved
or deviant.


A persons general mind-set is also known as
his or her definitions. Someone who spends
time around other drug users, for instance,
may not give a second thought to using or
worrying about the consequences of illegal

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Section 4.3 Social Learning Theory

It is important to note that criminals do not commit crime every second of their lives; there-
fore, they are not cognitively dominated by definitions that are favorable to the commission
of crime. Instead, serious criminal offenders merely hold weak definitions about conventional
behavior. This makes sense when one considers that serious criminal offenders also experi-
ence failures in terms of adult functioning, such as unemployment, financial insecurity, rela-
tionship discord, and imprudent behaviors like gambling, smoking, sexual promiscuity, and
drug use. Their definitions about the righteousness of conventional life are so distorted that
negative behaviors are enhanced.

There is ample evidence that definitions are related to antisocial behavior. Drawing on data
from the National Youth Survey, Mears, Ploeger, and Warr (1998) found that definitions and
moral evaluations of antisocial conduct are significantly responsible for the large sex dif-
ferences in crime. Mears and his colleagues found that delinquent peers were predictive of
delinquency for both males and females; however, greater moral evaluations by girls buffered
them from the pernicious effects of delinquent peers. In another study that used the National
Youth Survey, Hochstetler, Copes, and DeLisi (2002) explored the link between respondents
attitudes and their friends attitudes and involvement in three forms of crime: vandalism,
theft, and assault. They found that friends attitudes were significantly associated with all
forms of crime. In addition, these effects were found in both solo and group forms of theft,
vandalism, and assault.

Differential Reinforcement
Differential reinforcement is the balance of reward and punishment that is produced from
behavioral acts. Consistent with Akerss theory, antisocial behavior is very costly to those
who have little to no association with antisocial peers and is beneficial or rewarding to those
who are enmeshed in antisocial peer networks. To prosocial people, crime brings incredible
stigma, financial costs, fear, and the potential loss of liberty, employment, and other attach-
ments. To antisocial people, crime can bring credibility and enhance ones reputation. Gang
activity is a clear example. To ascend the ranks of a gang, members will often commit major
acts of violence to impress their peers or leaders in the gang hierarchy. Such criminal behav-
iors are highly reinforcing because they bolster ones position within the gang.

Focused research on habitual criminals demonstrates the interesting ways that involvement
in criminal acts can be highly reinforcing. For example, Wood, Gove, Wilson, and Cochran
(1997) surveyed more than 300 incarcerated prisoners and also conducted focus groups with
40 offenders who were career criminals. They found that serious offenders found crime to be
intrinsically rewarding, reported feelings of physiological euphoria when committing crime,
and felt that crime solidified their self-concept. Wood and colleagues referred to these pro-
cesses as nonsocial reinforcement.

Imitation is the repeating or mimicry of behaviors that have been directly or indirectly
observed. Imitation is particularly salient during the initial exposure to behaviors that will be
modeled. Over time, ones behavior becomes habituated and is second nature; thus, there is
no longer necessarily a need to imitate a behavioral role model.

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Section 4.4 Social Cognitive Theory

Bandura is an important figure in studying the factor of imitation in social learning. He dem-
onstrated that aggression is produced from exposure to role models who display aggression
and the imitation of it (Bandura, 1978). However, because his approach is directed toward
aggression, we will wait to discuss it until Chapter 6.

One of the most powerful pieces of evidence of the importance of imitation relates to intimate
partner violence. Violence that occurs in the home produces a staggering array of immediate
and enduring costs for children. In addition to exposing children to verbal, physical, and at
times sexual abuse, such homes model violence for children at vital developmental stages
that can set into motion learning processes that favor the use of violence during interper-
sonal disputes. If this occurs, these behaviors can be repeated years later. For instance, Sell-
ers, Cochran, and Winfree (2007) surveyed nearly 1,300 university students and found that
imitation significantly predicted dating or courtship violence. Moreover, separate analyses
found that imitation predicted violence among both male and female students; however, the
effects were more pronounced among women.

4.4 Social Cognitive Theory
The social cognitive theory focuses on cognitive processes, rational thought, and cognitive
expectancies as important determinants of behavior. Importantly, cognitive psychology deals
not only with cognitive processes but also with the emotional processes that are related to the
ways that people think. In other words, this perspective shows the connection between think-
ing and feeling and how both actions influence behavior. In addition, t



Equal Right Amendments is the topic

HIS 200 Project 2 Guidelines and Rubric

History is for human self-knowledge . . . the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has

done and thus what man is.
R. G. Collingwood

Historical awareness informs various aspects of our lives. We live in a time of rapid change, and we often think more about the future than the past. However,
studying history can help us better understand our own lives in the context of the places we live and society in general. In America, specifically, the government is
informed by its citizens. If the ideals of society shift, that shift will eventually move throughout the different levels of government, effecting widespread change.

For the projects in this course, you will select a historical event that has impacted American society in some way. You may select an event that was discussed in
the course, or you may select your own event, with instructor approval. You may consider using the event you chose to work on in your Perspectives in History
class, if that event is something you wish to investigate further through this assessment.

In Project 1, you will develop a plan for an essay on this historical event. The plan will include a brief description of the selected historical event and the resources
you will use in your research. In addition, you will identify an audience for your essay and decide how to communicate your information to this audience. In
Project 2, you will write an essay analyzing the historical event you selected, examining its impact on society as well as its impact on you personally.

Project 2 addresses the following course outcomes:

Illustrate the impact of historical thinking on personal and professional experiences

Select appropriate and relevant primary and secondary sources in investigating foundational historic events

Communicate effectively to specific audiences in examining fundamental aspects of human history

Utilize historical evidence in drawing conclusions about the impact of historic events on American society

Apply key approaches to studying history in addressing critical questions related to historical narratives and perspectives


Your historical analysis essay should answer the following prompt: Analyze the historical event you selected, using your writing plan as the basis for your
analysis. The following critical elements will be assessed in a 4- to 6-page word processing document.

I. Introduction: In this section of your essay, you will introduce your readers to the historical event you selected. Specifically, you should:
A. Provide a brief overview of your historical event. For instance, what background information or context does the reader of your essay need?
B. Based on your research question, develop a thesis statement that states your claim about the historical event you selected. Your thesis

statement should be clear, specific, and arguable, as it will give direction to the rest of your essay.

II. Body: You will use this section of your essay to provide further detail about your historical event while supporting the claim you made in your thesis
statement. Make sure to cite your sources. Specifically, you should:

A. Describe the causes of the historical event. In other words, what were the underlying factors that led to the historical event? Were there any
immediate causes that precipitated the event?

B. Illustrate the course of your historical event. In other words, tell the story or narrative of your event. Who were the important participants? What
did they do? Why? How do the perspectives of the key participants differ?

C. Describe the immediate and long-term consequences of the historical event for American society. In other words, how did the event impact
American society?

D. Discuss the historical evidence that supports your conclusions about the impact of the event on American society. Support your response with
specific examples from your sources.

III. Conclusion: In this section of your essay, you will discuss the impact of historical thinking. Specifically, you should:
A. Explain why this historical event is important to you personally. In other words, why did you select this event to research?
B. Illustrate how your research of the historical event impacted the way you thought about the event. In other words, how did thinking like a

historian change the lens through which you viewed the event? Support your response with specific examples.
C. Explain how a historian would pursue further study of your thesis statement. In other words, if a historian were to continue researching your

thesis statement, what would be the future directions or next steps?

IV. Provide a reference list that includes all of the primary and secondary sources you used to investigate your historical event and support your thesis
statement. Ensure that your list is formatted according to current APA guidelines (or another format, with instructor permission).

V. Communicate your message in a way that is tailored to your specific audience. For instance, you could consider your vocabulary, your audiences
potential current knowledge of historical events, or lack thereof, and what is specifically important to the audience.


Project 2 Rubric
Guidelines for Submission: Your historical analysis essay should adhere to the following formatting requirements: 46 pages, double-spaced, using 12-point
Times New Roman font and one-inch margins. You should use current APA-style guidelines (or another format approved by your instructor) for your citations
and reference list.

Critical Elements Exemplary Proficient Needs Improvement Not Evident Value


Meets Proficient criteria, and
response expertly balances
necessary detail with brevity

Provides brief overview of
historical event (85%)

Provides brief overview of
historical event, but with gaps
in detail or clarity (55%)

Does not provide brief
overview of historical event


Introduction: Thesis

Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates keen
insight into historical event

Develops clear, specific, and
arguable thesis statement that
states claim about historical
event based on research
question (85%)

Develops thesis statement that
states claim about historical
event, but thesis statement is
not based on research question
or lacks clarity or specificity or
is not arguable (55%)

Does not develop thesis
statement that states claim
about historical event (0%)


Body: Causes Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates insight
into key approaches to studying
history (100%)

Describes the causes of
historical event, citing source(s)

Describes the causes of
historical event, but with gaps
in detail, accuracy, clarity, or
citation (55%)

Does not describe the causes of
historical event (0%)


Body: Course Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates insight
into key approaches to studying
history (100%)

Illustrates course of historical
event, citing source(s) (85%)

Illustrates course of historical
event, but with gaps in detail,
accuracy, clarity, or citation

Does not illustrate course of
historical event (0%)


Body: Consequences Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates insight
into relationship between
historical event and American
society (100%)

Describes immediate and long-
term consequences of historical
event for American society,
citing source(s) (85%)

Describes immediate and long-
term consequences of historical
event for American society, but
with gaps in detail, accuracy,
clarity, or citation (55%)

Does not describe immediate
and long-term consequences of
historical event for American
society (0%)


Body: Evidence Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates strong
understanding of how to use
historical evidence in drawing
conclusions about the impact of
historic events on American
society (100%)

Discusses historical evidence
that supports conclusions
about impact of event on
American society, citing
source(s) and providing specific
examples (85%)

Discusses historical evidence
that supports conclusions
about impact of event on
American society, but with gaps
in detail, support, or citation

Does not discuss historical
evidence that supports
conclusions about impact of
event on American society (0%)




Meets Proficient criteria, and
explanation demonstrates keen
insight into impact of history on
personal experiences (100%)

Explains why historical event is
important personally (85%)

Explains why historical event is
important personally, but with
gaps in clarity or detail (55%)

Does not explain why historical
event is important personally


Conclusion: Research Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates insight
into relationship between event
and historical thinking (100%)

Illustrates how research of
historical event impacted
thinking about event,
supporting response with
specific examples (85%)

Illustrates how research of
historical event impacted
thinking about event, but
response has gaps in clarity,
detail, or support (55%)

Does not illustrate how
research of historical event
impacted thinking about event


Conclusion: Historian Meets Proficient criteria, and
response demonstrates
understanding of historical
thinking (100%)

Explains how a historian would
pursue further study of thesis
statement (85%)

Explains how a historian would
pursue further study of thesis
statement but with gaps in
clarity, detail, or logic (55%)

Does not explain how a
historian would pursue further
study of thesis statement (0%)


Reference List Provides reference list that
includes all primary and
secondary sources used to
investigate historical event and
support thesis statement,
formatting list according to
current APA guidelines (100%)

Provides reference list that
includes all primary and
secondary sources used to
investigate historical event and
support thesis statement, but
list has gaps in adherence to
current APA formatting
guidelines (55%)

Does not provide reference list
that includes all primary and
secondary sources used to
investigate historical event and
support thesis statement (0%)


Message Meets Proficient criteria, and
presentation demonstrates
understanding of effectively
communicating with specific
audiences (100%)

Communicates message
effectively in a way that is
tailored to specific audience

Communicates message to
audience, but communication is
not effective or is not tailored
to specific audience (55%)

Does not communicate
message to audience (0%)


Articulation of

Submission is free of errors
related to citations, grammar,
spelling, syntax, and
organization and is presented in
a professional and easy-to-read
format (100%)

Submission has no major errors
related to citations, grammar,
spelling, syntax, or organization

Submission has major errors
related to citations, grammar,
spelling, syntax, or organization
that negatively impact
readability and articulation of
main ideas (55%)

Submission has critical errors
related to citations, grammar,
spelling, syntax, or organization
that prevent understanding of
ideas (0%)


Total 100%


HIS 200 Project 2 Guidelines and Rubric

Project 2 Rubric

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HIS 200 Project 2 Guidelines and Rubric.pdf

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Rule Name

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Accessibility permission flag must be set

Image-only PDF

Document is not image-only PDF

Tagged PDF

Document is tagged PDF

Logical Reading Order

Needs manual check
Document structure provides a logical reading order

Primary language

Text language is specified


Document title is showing in title bar


Bookmarks are present in large documents

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Document has appropriate color contrast

Page Content

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Tagged content

All page content is tagged

Tagged annotations

All annotations are tagged

Tab order

Tab order is consistent with structure order

Character encoding

Reliable character encoding is provided

Tagged multimedia

All multimedia objects are tagged

Screen flicker

Page will not cause screen flicker


No inaccessible scripts

Timed responses

Page does not require timed responses

Navigation links

Navigation links are not repetitive


Rule Name

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All form fields are tagged

Field descriptions

All form fields have description

Alternate Text

Rule Name

Figures alternate text

Figures require alternate text

Nested alternate text

Alternate text that will never be read

Associated with content

Alternate text must be associated with some content

Hides annotation

Alternate text should not hide annotation

Other elements alternate text

Other elements that require alternate text


Rule Name


TR must be a child of Table, THead, TBody, or TFoot

TH and TD

TH and TD must be children of TR


Tables should have headers


Tables must contain the same number of columns in each row and rows in each column


Tables must have a summary


Rule Name

List items

LI must be a child of L

Lbl and LBody

Lbl and LBody must be children of LI


Rule Name

Appropriate nesting

Appropriate nesting

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