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Behavioral Theory of Crime

Behavioral theory distilled to its core asserts that an individual’s behaviors are functional choices. Traditionally, the function of behavior has been broken down into five basic categories of goals: tangible reinforcement, attention, avoidance, escape, and sensory stimulation. Goals are achieved using an array of behaviors across different settings, all considered adaptive by an individual at that time. Behavioral choices are influenced by individual and intrapersonal variables, factored into an economic equation including values and preferences of the person and his or her cultural group, perceived costs of the act, probability of success, and likely consequences.

Certain behavioral choices, such as substance use, gang participation, or a shopping spree, may be thought preferable at the time but reap problematic long-term consequences for the individual. Criminal behaviors ...

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