The theory was highly influential in deviance and delinquency research, making the explanation of crime largely a matter of ordinary learning processes, rather than biological predisposition. Although it was frequently attacked for being too general and failing to deal adequately with individualistic crimes like embezzlement, the proponents of the theory responded by making it ever more refined and testable, as well as applying it to a wider range of individual deviant phenomena, often using the vocabulary of motives argument to clarify the social nature of even solitary crimes.
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