explanations for attachment

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  • explanations of attachment
    • 1. Learning theory
      • Classical conditioning - food provides pleasure(mother provides food she will become associated with this pleasure and becomes conditioned stimulus/ response)
      • Operant conditioning - reinforcement (babies cry for comfort, negative reinforcement, cause response from caregiver)
        • reinforcement works both ways, babies get comfort and mum gets the crying to stop)
      • food is the primary reinforcer because it reinforces the behaviour in order to avoid discomfort)
      • the mother becomes the secondary reinforcer whose presence produces a conditioned response of pleasure
      • LIMITATION - suggests that food is the key motivator
        • Schaffer, infants eat to live rather than live to eat
      • LIMITATION-Attachment is not always to the person who provides the food
        • Schaffer and Emerson suggest that sensitivity from the mother is more important for attachment
        • 39% of the children had a primary attachment to the father rather than the mother
    • 2. Bowlbys theory of attachment
      • Attachment is adaptive, child displays behaviour that will increase likelihood of survival
      • uses behaviours known as social releasers, eg crying or smiling
        • Monotropy, Bowlbys theory is monotropic as it puts emphasis on having one particular attachment
          • Bowlby believes they will have a number of attachments but one stronger than any of the others
            • the law of continuity (more constant the care, the better the quality of their attachment
              • the law of accumulated separation (effects of separation from the mother add up, therefore safest dose of separation is no does)


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