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LEARNING THEORY
· Suggests attachment is learned not innate.
· Children are born like blank slates and
everything they become can be explained by
the experiences they have.
· Popular in the 1st half of the 20th century.
· There are two
ways in which
attachment is
learned ­ operant
and classical
conditioning.…read more

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CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
· LEARNING THROUGH ASSOCIATION, e.g. Pavlov.
· Food, the unconditioned stimulus,
produces a sense of pleasure, an
unconditioned response, in an
infant.
· The person who feeds the infant
becomes associated with the food
­ conditioned stimulus.
· The `feeder' eventually produces
the pleasure associated with food on their own and pleasure
becomes the conditioned response.
· This association between the `feeder' and a sense of
pleasure is the attachment bond.…read more

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OPERANT CONDITIONING
· LEARNING THROUGH REINFORCEMENT, e.g. B. F. Skinner.
· Positive consequence = reinforcement.
Negative consequence = punishment.
· When an infant is fed this is a reward
and food becomes a primary reinforcer.
· The person who supplies the food is
associated with avoiding hunger and
becomes the secondary reinforcer.
· Attachment forms as the child seeks the person who can
supply the reward.…read more

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STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF
LEARNING THEORY
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
Adequate explanation of attachment Food may not have anything to do with
as we do learn through association and attachment:
reinforcement. Harry Harlow ­ found the monkey
chose comfort over being fed.
Schaffer and Emerson (1964) ­ found
infants were most attached to those
who were most responsive and
interacted with them the most, not
those who simply fed them.…read more

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EVOLUTIONARY THEORY - BOWLBY
Attachment is an Attachment forms a secure base for the Link early
innate, adaptive infant that fosters independence not attachment
behaviour that dependence. with adult
increases chances of social/
survival and then Primary Internal Working emotional
reproduction- attachment = Model = template for competence=
evolution. monotropy future relationships. Continuity
Hypothesis.
There is a sensitive period in which
attachment should occur.
Infants are born with
certain characteristics,
e.g. the typical baby
face, that elicit care
giving. These are called
social releasers.…read more

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