• 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 learning theory of attachment. (12 marks)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Outline and evaluate the learning theory of attachment. (12 marks) Learning theory, or behaviourist approach, proposes that we are born as blank slates and we learn to form attachments through the process of association. The process of association is applied through two principles, the principles of operant and classical conditioning. Operant conditioning involves learning behaviours through punishments and rewards. It states that any behaviour that is rewarded with something pleasant will be repeated (positive reinforcement), similarly any behaviour that takes away something unpleasant will be repeated (negative reinforcement). So when a baby is hungry it will cry and be fed by the mother, the baby has learnt that the behaviour (crying) takes away the unpleasant feelings (hunger) ...read more.

Middle

This is the idea that we learn through association. Milk is an unconditioned stimulus to the baby, which produces an unconditioned response of happiness or pleasure. The mother is a neutral stimulus, but, as the mother provides the baby with milk the baby learns to associate the mother with the feelings of please so she becomes a conditioned stimulus, soon she alone brings feelings of happiness in the child, a conditioned response. And so an attachment is formed. The learning theory provides a plausible and scientifically reliable explanation for attachment. It seems likely that the child will form a strong bond with their primary caregiver, and in return the caregiver will have a strong bond with the baby. ...read more.

Conclusion

Suggesting there is more to attachment than food. The learning theory cannot account for this. Furthermore, Harlow, studying baby rhesus monkeys who she reared in isolation away from their mother found that the monkeys would go to the robot mother who provided comfort as opposed to the robot mother who provided food. Although we must be cautious with these results as they concern monkeys so we can?t generalise. But it has important implications for attachment research and provides further support for the argument that there is more to attachment than food. Therefore, it seems likely there are other factors involved in attachment. Bowlby?s evolutionary theory of attachment is argued by many to be a much stronger argument to explain why attachments are formed. ...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

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

    Contrast Principles of Classical and Operant Conditioning

    3 star(s)

    The is known as the instinctive drift whereby what an animal learns tends to resemble their instinctive behaviour as animal behaviour is governed by innate predispositions as much as, if not more than by reinforcement. Because both classical and operant conditioning have been found to work so well with conditioning

  2. Outline and evaluate Bowlby's theory of attachment (12 marks)

    However, the study used a volunteer sample, therefore may be subject to a volunteer bias; as a certain type of person is likely to volunteer for a study, someone who has increased time and motivation on their hands. Moreover, the participants had to self report their early attachments and later

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