psychology - attachment (learning theory)

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  • psychology- learning theory
    • learning theory: put forward by behaviourists and explains behaviours in terms of learning rather than any innate or cognitive tendencies.
      • behaviourists believe that you are born as a blank state and behaviour is shown through interaction with environment
    • classical conditioning is learning through association.
      • 1. unconditioned stimulus is we have a natural response to.
      • 2. unconditioned response is a natural response.
      • 3. neutral stimulus
      • 4. conditioned stimulus
      • 5. conditioned response
      • food= UCS, produces UCR of pleasure
        • UCS paired, infant sees milk and creates  paining
          • mum becomes CS and elicits CR, which is pleasure
    • operant conditioning is learning through reinforcement
      • positive reinforcement.                          care giver supplies food therefore infant enjoys the reward and a bond is formed
      • negative reinforcement                           infant feels discomfort when hungry. Has desire to remove discomfort, they learn that if they cry care giver will supply food therefore discontent is removed
    • drive reduction
      • hunger is primary drive,SEARSET AL suggested that as a care giver provides food the primary drive becomes generalised to them
      • forming an attachment is this secondary drive learnt by associating the categories with the satisfaction of a primary drive
      • primary drive is to reduce hunger
      • secondary drive= an attachment formed with a carer as they always provide the food
    • evaluation of the learning theory
      • positive: is has face validity, provides adequate explanation of how attachments are formed, food may not be the main reinforcer for example attention or comfort
      • negative: ignores how reciprocity  and interactional synchrony affect quality of attachments
        • negative: over emphasis on the role of food HARLOW
        • negative: infants can be attached to people not involved in basic caregiving
        • reductionists reduces complexities of human behaviour. it is simplistic as attachment is not simply due to food


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