• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate the evolutionary theory of attachment.

Extracts from this document...


AS Psychology Essay The Evolutionary Theory of Attachment The evolutionary theory of attachment as proposed by John Bowlby (1907-1990) suggests that attachment, in terms of adaptation, is essential for survival. In order to progress healthily, children are born with an innate tendency to form attachments. This means that infants are pre-programmed to become attached to their caregiver. Bowlby's evolutionary theory consists of a number of essential factors. The first is monotropy which refers to his suggestion that infants form one social bond with the person who is most sensitive to their social releases (i.e. their caregiver). This bond or attachment is a two-way process which is referred to as reciprocal. Furthermore, Bowlby proposed that infants develop an Internal Working Model which acts as a template for future relationships. ...read more.


They conducted a large-scale observational study and found that after a main attachment was formed, multiple attachments followed. This contradicts Bowlby's suggestion of monotropy as there was more than one attachments formed. The study also has high ecological validity but can also be criticised as being prone to bias as the infants' mothers kept the records. When considering the Internal Working Model proposed by Bowlby, two studies can be used to support this concept. In 1987, Hazan and Shaver found a strong relationship between childhood attachment type and adulthood attachment type. In a more recent study, Black and Schutte (2006) found a similar result, which suggests that the relationship between child and caregiver does form a template for future relationships. ...read more.


Susan Curtiss (1989) carried out research as several methods were undertaken to ensure Genie improved socially and emotionally. However, Genie's language development did not have positive results. Her case suggests that it was the result of not having made an attachment within the critical period that led to problems in her social and emotional development. In conclusion, Bowlby's evolutionary theory of attachment has many strengths and weaknesses. The learning theory can be used to undermine Bowlby's theory as it suggests that attachments are learned whereas Bowlby suggests that they are innate. Also, his suggestion of an Internal Working Model can simply be due to the explanation that some infants may simply be better than others at forming relationships. Overall, his theory is based on the assumption that attachment exists due to it being adaptive, as it was first proposed by Darwin's theory of evolution. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This essay is well structured. Some valid points are made - some need developing or explaining further. Think synoptically for deeper thinking.

Marked by teacher Stephanie Porras 30/03/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What have been the major challenges to Piaget's theory of cognitive development? What aspects ...

    4 star(s)

    An evaluation of Vygotsky's theory indicates that its emphasis on the role of language may not accurately describe cognitive development in all cultures. Also, by focusing on the cultural line of development, his theory does not describe exactly how elementary cognitive processes contribute to higher cognitive processes derived from social experience.

  2. Free essay


    4 star(s)

    our eyebrows at the outspoken talk but even more at the bold gesture, the physical contacts, about which it is easy to imagine what a modern psychoanalyst would say.........Nowadays the physical contacts (typical of the early seventeenth century)..Would strike us as bordering on sexual perversion and nobody would dare to indulge in them publicly" (1962: 101).

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Behaviourism essay

    3 star(s)

    has been learnt, which is to say that it is the result of the environment rather than biological influences. Therefore the study of learning and the conditions under which it occurs is the core project of behaviourism (Tennant, 1997) Behaviouristic therapy is aimed at the modification of behaviour especially undesirable

  2. Physical, Social and Emotional Development of Children.

    "Health professionals use both approaches in assessing and trying to understand children's state of physical and mental health and stages of development." (Yvonne Nolan: BTEC National Early Years). Factors have been identified which enable children's progress to be compared. These factors are expected to be a normal level of development

  1. Describe and Evaluate Bowlby's and Ainsworth's ideas about parent-child relationships.

    Stranger and Baby ca: 3 minutes ore less Continuation of second separation . Stranger enters and gears her behaviour to that of baby. 8coa Mother and Baby jB4A from jB4A coursewrok jB4A work jB4A info jB4A 3 minutesc Second reunion episode.

  2. Factors that Affect Growth and Development.

    It tries to control the ego. It comprises of two main elements: the conscience and the ego-ideal. * The conscience will punish the ego if it misbehaves i.e. does something that the superego considers wrong. * The ego-ideal will reward the ego if it shows good behaviour, i.e., pride, and self-esteem.

  1. discuss freud's psychodynamic theory and compare and contrast to the humanistic theory

    This hierarchy can be applied to specific situations such as in the work place to motivate and train staff and also in teacher training to help with motivating students. (Eysenck 1996, Mcilveen & Grogs 1999) Carl Rogers saw the personality as one unit and not broken up in separate sections

  2. Is adoption morally wrong? Adoption is a controversial issue with many negative aspects attached ...

    The demographics of the foster care system shows that 38% are white and 41% are black so those who also claim that black children in care are much more numerous than white children do not have a valid argument. Interracial adoption is legal, however, not always encouraged in some areas.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work