Outline and Evaluate the Learning Theory of Attachment

5/6 AO1 and 3/6 AO2

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  • Created by: Toomas
  • Created on: 24-03-14 20:00
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  • Learning Theory
    • AO2
      • Attachment is not always based on feeding
        • Research from Harlow + Harlow suggests that baby monkeys become attached to a surrogate mother who provides comfort more than one that provides food
          • However, this cannot be applied to attachments between humans as we cannot EXTRAPOLATE from animal studies to explain human behaviour
            • Further research from Schaffer and Emerson (1964) found that fewer of the human infants in their study had a primary attachment to the person who fed them
              • This contradicts the Learning Theory Explanation as it suggests that attachments are not formed based on feeding and the findings of Schaffer and Emerson CAN be applied to human attachment
      • The Learning Theory of attachment is reductionist
        • This is because it is too simplistic as an explanation of why we form attachments.
    • AO1
      • Operant Conditioning
        • Behaviour is maintained through reinforcement
        • Reinforcement
          • Positive Reinforcement
            • Introducing something pleasant to reinforce a certain behaviour
              • For example, a mother giving their baby food for being close to them
            • Taking away unpleasantries to reinforce a certain behaviour
              • For example, a mother changing their baby's nappy for being close to them
      • Classical Conditioning
        • Behavior is learnt through assosciation
        • Process
          • Before conditioning
            • An Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS) provokes an Unconditioned Response (UCR)
            • A Neutral Stimulus (NS) provokes a Neutral Response (NR)
          • During Conditioning
            • The UCS is paired with the NS which provokes the UCR
          • After Conditioning
            • The NS becomes a Conditioned Stimulus (CS) and, alone, it can cause the UCR, which becomes the Conditioned Response (CR)
          • Applied to Attachment
            • Being close to their Mother and eating food (UCS + NS) causes babies to feel comfort (UCR)
            • Eating food (UCS) causes babies to feel comfort (UCR)
            • Being close to their Mother (CS) causes babies to feel comfort (CR)
  • Applied to Attachment
    • Being close to their Mother and eating food (UCS + NS) causes babies to feel comfort (UCR)
    • Eating food (UCS) causes babies to feel comfort (UCR)
    • Being close to their Mother (CS) causes babies to feel comfort (CR)

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