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Explanations of attachment At attachment is an affectional bond that one person forms between themselves and another that binds them in space and endures over time.

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Explanations of attachment At attachment is an affectional bond that one person forms between themselves and another that binds them in space and endures over time. The learning theory * Attachment through nurture * 'attachment is a set of learned behaviours resulting from the environment, not an innate process' Classical conditioning: learning though association Pavlov's dogs - dogs salivate when they're given food. Salivation is the unconditioned response to the unconditioned stimulus of food. This stimulus and response is innately linked. A bell rings every time food is given to the dog, eventually the dog will associate the ringing bell with food. The bell then becomes a conditioned stimulus to the conditioned response of salivation. The dog has learned a new stimulus/response link. An infant is born with reflex responses. The stimulus of food produces a response of pleasure. The person providing the baby with food becomes associated with the pleasure food gives. The person giving food eventually becomes a source of pleasure in itself. This is how the basis of attachment is formed. Operant conditioning: learning through rewards and consequences Skinner - an animal is placed in a cage where if a lever is pushed food will appear. ...read more.


Findings The monkeys spent most of their time on the comfort cylinder and would jump to it when scared. They also used it as a secure base of exploration. Conclusion The study indicated that simply supplying food isn't enough for formation of attachment. Evaluation The comfort mother didn't provide enough love to enable healthy psychological development. In later life the monkeys weren't interested in other monkeys and had trouble mating. This indicated that although comfort contact is more favourable that food comfort an infant still needs a carer. This experiment would now be considered unethical but it was critical in demonstrating that neither feeding nor comfort contact can independently explain attachment. Bowlby's Theory * John Bowlby (1969) suggested that attachment is vital for survival. * Infants are physically helpless and need adults to care for them otherwise they couldn't survive. * Infants are born with an innateness to form an attachment to increase their chance of survival. Lorenz (1952) Conrad Lorenz studied behaviour of geese that tend to imprint of the first moving object they see, including short and long term benefits. ...read more.


The hypothesis provides one possible explanation of the fact that early patterns of attachment are related to later child characteristics. Support - Minnesota longitudinal study (Sroufe et al 2005) followed participants from infancy to adolescence and found continuity between early attachment and later emotional & social behaviour. Those classified as secure in infancy were rated the highest for social competence, were less isolated and more popular and more empathetic. Strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory * Imprinting in non-humans: Lorenz's research supports the view that imprinting is innate, a similar process is likely to have evolved in many species as a mechanism to protect young animals and enhance chance of survival. * Monotropy and hierarchy: infants form multiple attachments but they form a hierarchy with one attachment figure being the most important. Weaknesses of Bowlby's attachment theory * Attachment may be more flexible that the critical period * Infants form different relationships with different people rather than the idea of a template leading to formation of similar relationships * Thomas (1998) questions Bowlby's assumption that it's good to form one attachment, it might be better for the child to form multiple attachments. * Bowlby's claim that attachment is genetical is impossible to test. ...read more.

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