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Consider the extent to which psychological theories have been successful in explaining attachments

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Consider the extent to which psychological theories have been successful in explaining attachments There are various proposed psychological theories that attempt to explain attachments. Each of which is different and are all partly but not completely successful at explaining the process's and reasons behind attachments in animals. Firstly I will look at the most commonly used theory called 'the evolutionary approach' created by Bowlby in 1969. This is apparently the most successful of the theories at it covers most aspects and gives the most plausible reasons for why attachments occur. Bowlby propose that infants become attached to a caregiver because attachment is adaptive. In other words, it is good for their reproductive success as infants who do not become attached are less likely to survive and reproduce. Therefore the infants are born with an innate drive to become attached. ...read more.


Another reason why Bowlby's theory is so successful is because it has vast quantities of research to support it. One of these studies is by Schaffer and Emerson and draws on the concept of monotropy, the idea that the one relationship that the infant has with his or her primary caregiver is of special significance in emotional development. The two researchers found that most infants were specifically attached to one primary caregiver, but many children had two or more equivalent attachments. This shows that infants can create many significant attachments to ensure survival and also to have a widened variety of templates for future relationships. Another supporting study was performed by Harlow in 1959 which concerned Rhesus monkeys who were raised on their own by two 'wire mothers'. One wire mother had a feeding bottle attached and the other was wrapped in soft cloth but offered no food. ...read more.


For example a hungry infant feels uncomfortable so a drive is created to reduce the discomfort. When the infant is fed, the drive is reduced and this produces a sense of pleasure (a reward). Therefore the person associated with reducing the discomfort (primary caregiver for example) becomes a reinforcer. This 'rewardingness' is the supposed attachment. This theory is a lot less successful as it has a lot of criticism's e.g. Harlow's monkeys, as it shows that its not just the drive reduction that forms the attachment, but the interaction and responsiveness (given by the cloth mother). There is not one attachment theory that is completely correct but the most successful is Bowlby's evolutionary approach as it covers all aspects of infant's attachments in detail with reasons that are greatly supported by other research. Whereas the learning theory isn't so successful as it doesn't explain the relevance of attachments in an infant's development and why they occur, just how they supposedly occur. ...read more.

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