Explanations of Attachment: Bowlby's theory

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  • Explanations of attachment: Bowlby's theory
    • Attachment is adaptive and innate
      • Bowlby's theory is evolutionary
        • Suggests that attachement is an evolved behavioural system
        • Children have innate drive to seek caregiver
          • Ensures that a young animal will be safe
          • Adaptive behaviour- increases the likelihood of survival
            • Children carrying same attachment seeking genes are born
    • Sensitive Period
      • Limited window for development of attachment
        • There is a sensitive period of development for all biological systems
          • For example there is a critical period in the womb for the development of arms
            • Bowlby applied this theory to attachment
        • Bowlby suggested that the second quarter of the first year is critical period for attachments
          • once this time is passed it becomes more and more difficult to form attachments
    • Caregiving is adaptive
      • Drive to provide caregiving is innate as well as attachment
        • Social releasers are characteristics found in infants
          • These are behaviours such as smiling and crying
            • They illicit caregiving
              • i.e baby cries-you come to provide care
    • A secure base
      • Attachment is important for protection
        • Caregiver acts as a secure base from which the infant can explore the world
          • Attachment encourages independence not dependence
    • Monotropy and heirarchy
      • Infants can form many attachments but one is special
        • This is known as the primary attachment figure (PAF)
          • PAF is usually mother
            • Sensitive responsiveness is key to becoming PAF
            • PAF provides main foundation for emotional development, self esteem etc.
        • People other than the PAF are known as secondary attachment figures (SAF's)
          • SAF's are extremely important for healthy emotional development
            • Children brought up without SAF's tend to lack social skills
    • Internal working model
      • Relationships with AF's creates model of what to expect from future relationships
        • Bowlby called this an internal working model
    • Continuity hypothesis
      • Linked to internal working model
        • This shows continuity between early experiences and later elationships
          • Securely attached individuals continue to be socially and emotionally competent
          • Those who are not securely attached have difficulty in later life


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