Bowlby's Evolutionary Theory

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  • Created on: 10-05-14 14:01
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Bowlby believed that attachment promotes survival in 3 ways: Strengths:
Safety ­ the attachment keeps mother and child close to one Bowlby's theory does provide a useful explanation of attachment.
another. Lorenz was able to show that attachments were learned behaviour
Safe Base for Exploration ­ attachments provide a secure base for however attachment does seem to be more innate.
children to explore their environment with the reassurance that Bowlby stressed the importance of strong attachments as they
there is always a safe place to return to. This exploration is essential helped a child to develop their cognitive abilities through interaction
for cognitive development. with their mother. This idea of a secure base was show by Bus et al
Internal Working Model ­ the mother and child relationship acts as a using the Strange Situation.
basis for all future relationships the child may have. The first Harlow's studies using monkeys helps to prove Bowlby's idea of a
attachment forms a schema that gives the child a feel for what a secure base. Harlow made two substitute mothers for a baby
relationship is. monkey, one out of cloth and the other wire mesh with food
attached. When released the monkey chose the cloth mother as it
Other aspects of the theory: provided a secure base because of the comfort it gave the monkey.
Sensitive Period ­ this is the period of time when attachments with
caregivers are formed, it is 2 and a half years. If this did not happen
then the child would be damaged, (socially, emotionally, physically,
Social Releasers ­ babies have social releasers which encourage the
innate tendency of adults to care for them. Some are physical, eg.
the baby's features and some are behavioural, eg. crying.
Monotropy ­ Bowly believed there was one primary attachment.
This is between the child and its mother. If the mother is not
available then the child can bond with a substitute mother.
Adaptive ­ we are more likely to survive as attachments give us
adaptive advantages. If a child has formed an attachment they have
food, warmth, shelter, etc.

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Innate ­ attachments are naturally selected due to our increasing
chances of survival and reproducing. Attachments are unconscious
needs which are controlled by our genes.
Bowlby's idea of monotropy has found not to be entirely correct.
Schaffer and Emerson have shown that children are capable of
making multiple attachments at a young age rather than one crucial
one.…read more


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