Q:

What is deviant behavior?

A:

Quick Answer

Deviant behavior is defined as any behavior that goes against the social norms. As norms change in time, so does the description of deviant behavior. Doctors have developed several theories about the causes of deviant behavior.

Know More
What is deviant behavior?
Credit: Keith Allison CC-BY-SA 2.0

Full Answer

The structural strain theory was developed by Robert K. Merton and states that deviant behavior is caused by a gap between cultural goals and the means people have to achieve those goals. People set personal and professional goals for themselves in regards to education, work, family and other areas. Society is supposed to provide the means to help people achieve those goals. When adequate social systems are in place for people to reach their goals, they do not need to resort to deviant behavior. However, when the support systems do not exist, people resort to deviant behavior as a means to get what they want.

The social control theory believes that people are more prone to deviant behavior when they fail to form appropriate social bonds. People with stronger bonds seek acceptance from those around them and, therefore, conform to the expectations of society. Those with weak bonds are often concerned about their own wants and desires and achieve them at the expense of others. The labeling theory says that no behavior is inherently deviant. Instead, society labels those behaviors they do not like as deviant, with the dominant groups in society having most of the control over what is considered acceptable behavior.

Learn more about Psychology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is interpersonal behavior?

    A:

    Interpersonal behavior is the behavior and actions that are present in human relationships. The way in which people communicate, and all that this entails, is considered interpersonal behavior.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is negative reinforcement?

    A:

    Negative reinforcement is a concept in psychology's theory of operant conditioning that suggests a behavior is strengthened when a negative outcome is stopped, removed, avoided or prevented. Negative reinforcement is an effective method of strengthening a desired behavior. Unlike punishment, negative reinforcement attempts to increase a specific behavior.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an example of a stimulus?

    A:

    In biology, a stimulus is a change in an organism's surroundings that causes the organism to change its behavior in order to make the environment more satisfactory. For instance, hunger motivates animals to seek food, predators stimulate prey to run away or hide, and falling temperatures encourage creatures to seek shelter or find warmth in other ways.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is escape conditioning?

    A:

    Escape conditioning is the term used to describe a subject's or animal's avoidance of stimuli, usually as a result of negative experiences, which leads to the behavior. If a person had a bad experience while swimming in the ocean, for example, leaving or avoiding any situation that involved going into the ocean again is a form of escape conditioning.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore