ATTACHMENT - Bowlby's monotropic theory (1951, 1969, 1973)

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  • Bowlby's monotropic theory (1951, 1969, 1973)
    • Monotropic theory
      • def: the idea that infants have an inbuilt tendency to make an initial attach with one attach figure, usually the mother
        • infants display attachment behaviours at a very young age (innate) but become more focused on few individs over time
      • Bowlby was heavily influenced by animal studies (Harlow + Lorenz) - led him to reject learning theory
      • using findings from animal studies, suggesting that emotional bonds had evolutionary functions.
      • saw attachs bond as evolving since the stone-age
        • humans faced constant fear and danger of predators and so attachs evolved via natural selection. Infants behave towards mother in ways that increase their survival chances.
          • adaptive behaviour = attachment behaviour
      • def: social releasers : innate, infant social behaviours that stimulate adult interaction and caregiving
        • crying to attract parents attention
        • looking, smiling and vocalising - to maintain parents attention and interest
        • following and clinging to gain and maintain physical closeness to parents
      • continuity hypothesis - attachment system as a child effects the attachments you have at a later life
        • friendship, adult rels, attachment with own children
      • internal working model (IWM) - developed during infancy. The form it takes depends on the experience of attachment when you are young. Model of what you expect future rels to be like
        • infant has secure attach -> IWM expects all rels to be the same (safe, secure not confusing)
        • insecure attach -> IWM expects rels to be insecure, unsafe. More likely to have problematic rels in future
          • distrust for people (learnt - don't trust parents)
          • paranoid / let them do anything (scared they'll leave)
          • promiscuity (securing rel through sex)
        • passed on through generations?
    • Research
      • LORENZ (1935)  - animals react innately to specific forms of stimuli - follow anyone displaying it (content when near them, distressed when separated). 'pre-programming' provide an evolutionary advantage by staying close to those individs - newborn animals safer from predators
      • Schaffer & Emerson (1964) - multiple attachs are normal- against monotropic theory. 39% of children had their main attach to someone other than main carer
      • Lamb (1982) - attachs infants had with other (fathers, grandparents, siblings) were for diff purposes as opposed to attach hierarchy. Against monotropic
      • Rutter (1981) - infants display range of attach behavs towards  people other than mother - no behav specifically & exclusively used for her. Against montoropic
      • Kagan (1984) - innate personality of infant affects rel with mother. Difficult child - insecure attach (fed-up mum). Easy child - secure attach (mum wants to spend time with them). Against monotropic
      • Belsky & Rovine (1987) - first few days old - display characteristics that match later life behav. Calm, less anxious -> more secure attach
    • Evaluation (A03)
      • research evidence supports continuity hypothesis
      • Hazan and Shaver - Love Quiz. Correlation between PPs rel with parents and nature of current rel
      • Schaffer & Emerson - children have multiple attachs, but one main primary attach (support Bowlby)
      • innate imprinting is enough to get an attachment
      • attachment = sensitive responsiveness increases - not imprinting alone
      • Bowlby sees father as minor role in attach - but can be key attach figures (Lamb)
      • right wing politicans use Bowlby's theory as an argument that woman should be at home caring for kids and not leaving them in day care


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