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Outline and evaluate Bowlbys theory of attachment

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Outline and evaluate Bowlbys theory of attachment According to Bowlby and his theory (also known as evolutionary theory), children have an innate drive to b and his ecome attached to a caregiver. Bowlby suggests that this is the way that all infants are 'programmed' as it is a way of ensuring the survival and reproduction. Bowlby would suggest that this attachment is very important for later-development and has a key impact on the relationships they form. According to this theory, infants and carers have innate programming to become attached, something known to physiologists as 'social releasers'. One of these many social releasers is called the 'sensitive period', an essential period in the second quarter of the first year, where it is most effective to form an attachment with the infant. ...read more.


Another 'social releaser' for Bowlby's theory 'the continuity hypothesis'. This is the idea that emotionally secure infants go on to be emotionally secure, trusting and socially confident adult if a positive and similar attachment to this is experienced as a infant. Again, when evaluating Bolwby, it is another strength of his theory. This is in conclusion to Minnesota longitudinal study by Scroufe et al in 2005. They followed participants from infancy to late adolescence and, just like Bowlby suggested, found continuity between early attachment and later emotional and social behaviour. The final 'social releaser' being explored is the 'secure base'. ...read more.


The argument against his is that there are in fact multiple attachments all equally important to a child, for example the role of the Father, peers, siblings etc; a conclusion drawn from research by Grossman in 1991. Another weakness found with Bowlbys theory is that he says that there is continuity between early attachment and later behaviours. However physiologists say such continuity can be explained without using Bowlbys theory. Kagan offered the contradicting explanation in 1984 with his temperament hypothesis. This suggests that these attachments can be down purely to certain personalities pr temperamental characteristics of the infant. There is also evidence that children are born with innate temperamental differences. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The candidate has structured a very good response to the question. The question asks for "Outline" and "Evaluate" and both demands are nicely satisfied by the candidates answer. It should be noted that in a question that asks for ...

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Response to the question

The candidate has structured a very good response to the question. The question asks for "Outline" and "Evaluate" and both demands are nicely satisfied by the candidates answer. It should be noted that in a question that asks for an "Outline", candidates are not expected to go to the same level of descriptive detail as a question that instructs candidates to "Describe". As such the candidate's seemingly brief description of John Bowlby's theory is perfectly sufficient. "Outline" questions will often attribute fewer marks to the description and more to the evaluation, so if this were (and most likely is) a 12 mark question, then 8 marks would be attributed to AO2 (critical evaluation) and 4 for AO1 (knowledge and understanding). As it stands, this candidate provides a good explanation of the theory and a balanced discussion in the evaluative section, earning them the full 12 marks.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here has a maximum of 8 marks. The candidate, in order to satisfy the demand to "Evaluate" John Bowlby's theory of infant attachment, must provide two strengths and two weaknesses, and each of these must be contextualised in the form of a study i.e. - backed up by research evidence. The candidate provides a well integrated support of Bowlby's theories with their two strengths and then makes a good criticism of the theory with the aid of two other studies that show how Bowlby can be critically opposed with two weaknesses. All in all this is a very nicely structured and well-reasoned argument.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is fine. There are no major errors from an English perspective, with the candidate;s grammar, spelling and punctuation all being sound. There is one instance where a typing error is made - in the first few sentences in fact - errors like these are not always picked up by computer spell-checkers and sop candidate must be sure that if they are typing their essays they they still continue to check for errors. From a psychology perspective, the QWC is excellent and their is good and accurate application of appropriate terminology. This is good because it shows the examiner the candidate is confident at analysing psychological theory with the language of the professionals.

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