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Outline two explanations of attachment and evaluate their ability to explain attachment

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Outline two explanations of attachment and evaluate their ability to explain attachment. One explanation of attachment was the psychoanalytic approach developed by Freud. He suggested that attachment was based on food and described children being born with an innate drive for pleasure, which he referred to as the pleasure principle. The idea was that everyone was motivated by this principle and that we demand immediate satisfaction. In infancy the pleasure is fulfilled through oral satisfaction or feeding. Freud then suggested that as an infant, you form a strong attachment with the person who provides you with the food. This implies that all attachments in infancy are explained by feeding and nothing else and may even suggest that a child isn't specifically attached to its mother. This is strong evidence to suggest that attachment in childhood is driven by the demands for food and oral satisfaction. However, this approach is unfalsifiable. The ideas we're talking about are theoretical, hence they cannot be tested or measured. ...read more.


and a conditioned response (the attachment). This agreed with Freud's psychoanalytic theory suggesting that food was the drive for attachment and that infants will eventually become attached to the figure that provides them with their food. But this theory, similar to the psychoanalytic approach, doesn't allow for any other sources of attachment to be considered. Both these approaches are "cupboard love" theories, which means that they both suggest attachment relies on food alone. This is why they do not allow for any other sources of attachment to be considered, such as love or attention received. For example, according to these two theories, the PCG must always be the same person as the PAF, which isn't always true in reality. Not only that, but the behaviourist approach reduces a complex human into a simple stimulus response pair. It assumes that the human mentality is much simpler than it is in real life. Schaffer and Emerson conducted a study where they looked at 60 children throughout infancy and studied their development of attachments. ...read more.


Harlow found that the monkeys spent the most time with the mother in the soft cloth rather than the mother who provided them with food. This supports the suggestion that the behaviourist theory is incorrect and that food is not the only reason for attachment. It agrees with Schaffer and Emerson's study in that food was not the key factor in forming the strongest attachments among infants. However, this experiment was conducted using monkeys and therefore has low population validity, as it cannot be generalised to all humans. Overall, there is strong evidence to suggest that both the psychoanalytic approach and the behaviourist approach are incorrect and that they show weak ability of explaining what causes attachments in infancy. Better explanations were made by Schaffer and Emerson in their study of 60 children and their primary and multiple attachments and Harlow and his monkeys, where monkeys preferred the soft mother than the food-providing mother. These both suggest that primary attachments are in fact down to the love and attention they receive and the interaction they are provided with as oppose to who supplies them with their food. Sarah Feehan ...read more.

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