The learning theory of attachment

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  • The learning Theory Of Attachment
    • What is attachment?
      • Attachment is a strong emotional bond between two people that lasts over time and leads to proximity seeking behaviour
    • Dollard and Miller
      • Behaviorists believe that attachment is learnt
      • They used classical and operant conditioning to explain how an infant become attached to their primary care giver.
    • Classical conditioning
      • PAVLOV
      • This can also be known as 'learning through association'
      • Behaviours are learnt through association with cues
      • Getting fed gives a baby pleasure
        • The baby associates whoever is giving them food with that pleasure
          • After a while, the baby will have associated the mother with pleasure
    • Operant conditioning
      • SKINNER
      • This is known as learning through reinforcement
      • If a behaviour is rewarded it is more likely to be repeated
      • If a behaviour is punished it is less likely to be repeated
    • Evaluation
      • HARLOW
        • Method: what was most important to babies, food or comfort.
          • The monkeys had to choose between wire model who offered food or a comfort model
        • Results: The monkeys spent most of their time on the comfort model and only went to the wire model for food
          • This suggests that comfort is more important than food, meaning the learning theory is wrong
      • SCHAFFER AND EMERSON
        • They studied 1 year old's in Glasgow and found that infants were more attached to the person who cared for them
          • Not the person that feeds them
            • This suggests that comfort is more important than food, meaning the learning theory is wrong
  • Not the person that feeds them

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