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Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of attachment

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Outline and evaluate one or more explanations of attachment (18 marks) Attachment is a strong, emotional, reciprocal bond between two people, especially child and carer. Attachment serves three main purposes these are that it is essential for; a child's survival, a child's emotional stability throughout his/her life and the stability of a child's future relationships One explanation of attachment is the learning theory. This theory explains that an attachment is something that is learnt (nurture). Behaviourists came up with the theory that attachment is either learnt through classical conditioning or operant conditioning. ...read more.


Operant conditioning is learnt when we are rewarded for doing something. Every time you do something and the result is pleasurable the behaviour is reinforced (repeated). On the other hand every time you do something and the result is not pleasurable it is less likely that the behaviour will be reinforced. Learning theory assumes that an infant will be attached to the person who gives the most pleasure or drive reduction, usually the person who feeds the infant. However a limitation of this would be that Schaffer and Emerson (1964) ...read more.


was the main source of reinforcement, but we cannot clearly generalize or compare the study of the orphan monkeys to human behaviour. This theory is also criticised for being reductionist, which means the complexities of behaviour are reduced to over simple ideas such as stimulus, reinforcement and response. It then uses these concepts to explain human behaviour such as attachment. However a criticism to support the learning theory is that we do learn through association and reinforcement. But this theory is too focused on food being the main reinforcer. Attention and responsiveness from a carer are also rewarding too. Jodie Kenyon ...read more.

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This essay offers a reasonable opening with a pretty comprehensive definition of 'attachment'. It has a good structure and attempts with some level of success to evaluate the behaviourist explanation of attachment and how it occurs. The research explored is not so recent but some attempt is made to evaluate its contribution to research and understanding of attachment. Ethics are important here. 3*

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 26/03/2013

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