Evaluation of learning/evolutionary theory

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  • Evaluation of learning/evolutionary theory
    • Learning theory
      • Theory makes sense and is simple
      • Aspects of theory found in real life e.g operant conditioning- valid
      • Reductionist- reduces behaviour to simple explanation, ignores other factors
      • Harlow's experiment suggests infants prefer comfort over food
      • Schaffer and Emerson suggest attachments more likely to be formed by those actively involved in care
      • Difficult to generalise animal findings to humans
    • Evolutionary theory
      • Support for Bowlby's theory is Hasan and Shaver's love quiz- strong relationship between childhood and adulthood attachment type
      • Support for IWM in Black and Shuttes study- link found between childhood and adulthood relationships
      • Bowlby's ideas about importance of attachments have produced substantial amounts of research and had an enormous impact on emotional care of young children
      • Too reductionist and deterministic to assume that adult relationships are down to a few early attachments
      • Rutter found babies display whole range of attachment behaviours towards attachment figures other than mothers. S&E's study says fathers can be attachment figures just as much as mothers
      • Schaffer and Emersons study showed multiple attachments are norm rather than exception. Reduces validity of monotropy


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