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Outline and evaluate two explanations of attachment John Bowlby argued that attachment is a biological need

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Outline and evaluate two explanations of attachment John Bowlby argued that attachment is a biological need to attach to our caregiver. This attachment is innate and we have evolved in this way to maximise protection, as forming this attachment has survival value - staying close to the mother or primary care giver (PCG) ensures food and protection from danger. This one special attachment that a baby has with his/her PCG is called monotropy, which gives us a template, or internal working model for all future attachments and relationships. This is because we learn how to care for and trust others through this first special attachment. It also acts as a safe base for the infant, where they trust that the mother will be there and so can then be more independent and play, giving them confidence to explore their environment. ...read more.


Bowlby said that if the attachment is not formed or is broken, this may seriously damage the child's social and emotional development. However, this explanation is not supported by Shaffer and Emerson, as they found that a stage in the child's development is multiple attachments, and if these may be formed, monotropy would not exist. Also, attachments are important in development, but lack of attachment or a broken attachment may not have the severe consequences that Bowlby claimed. Another explanation into attachment is the psychodynamic theory. Freud claimed that during infancy the id is in control of the baby's actions and the biological needs such as feeding or sleeping are priority at this stage in development. ...read more.


They claimed that good interaction and quality care of the baby was more important and the baby will attach to whoever was most sensitive and loving (hence the theory of multiple attachments). This is also shown in Harlow's Rhesus Monkey experiment where monkeys were privated and brought up in isolation. They were they proposed two surrogate 'mothers', a wire mother and a cloth mother. The wire mother had a feeding bottle attached but the cloth mother did not. It was found that most monkeys spent their time clinging to the cloth mother and only went to the wire mother to feed indicating that the monkeys needed contact comfort as much as food which contradicts the psychodynamic theory. This experiment has been criticised however as monkey behaviour cannot always be generalised to apply to humans and also, the method was unethical as the monkeys were privated of attachment. ...read more.

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