Evaluate Bowlby's Theory of Attachment

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Evaluating Bowlby's theory of Attachment One study which supports Bowlby's theory of attachments is Schaffer & Emerson's (1964) study of 60 infants from Glasgow showed that most infants formed their first attachment with one particular person. But, nearly one third formed multiple attachments (to two or more persons) in which these appeared to be no preferred attachment figure. This became increasingly common as the infants grew older. This study supports Bowlby's theory of Monotropy & hierarchy, because it shows that that infants do form primary attachments to the Monotropy, however it also disproves this theory, by presenting that a hierarchy isn't formed between the Monotropy & other multiple attachments, meaning the infants show no preference between what should be their closest attachment & their lower multiple attachments.


Observing 4 to 5 year olds in pre-school settings, they found that securely attached children were less dependent on the teacher & were more confident undertaking tasks than insecurely attached children. This supports Bowlby's theory of a secure base, by presenting the securely attached children as whiling to explore the world, because as infants they had a safe haven to return to when they felt threatened, fostering independence. The insecurely attached children never had this safe haven; therefore they feel more dependent upon their caregiver. However Bowlby's theory is challenged by the Czech twins. They were 'discovered' at the age of 7. They had been locked up & isolated from the outside world & abused by their stepmother since birth.


Bowlby's theory is also undermined by the fact despite rapid advances in genetics; there is no direct evidence of a gene for attachment or genes for attachment. This challenges Bowlby's theory of innate & evolutionary emphasis on attachment because Bowlby suggested that babies are born with the adaptive & innate drive to become attached, similar to imprinting in animals. However, by not having a gene for this theory shows that Bowlby has no proof for his innate & evolutionary emphasis on attachment, but doesn't disprove it either. Although, Lorenz would argue that his study on geese imprinting supports Bowlby's innate theory, because he demonstrated that geese imprint on the first moving thing they see. It can be suggested that imprinting is likely to have evolved in species as to protect young animals & enhance survival. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charlotte Higgins

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