Describe and evaluate learning theory as an explanation of attachment 12 mark essay plan

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Describe and evaluate learning theory as an explanation of attachment (12
marks)
A01
Point 1 Classical Conditioning
Refers to association
o Before conditioning
o Caregiver = neutral stimulus (NS) produces
neutral response
o Food = Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
o Pleasure = Unconditioned response (UCS)
o After conditioning
o Infant associates caregiver with food
o Caregiver = Conditioned stimulus (CS)
o Pleasure = Conditioned response (CR)
According to classical conditioning attachment is formed because it is learnt. Baby
associates mother with food therefore an attachment is formed
Point 2 Operant Conditioning
Refers to learning via. Reward
o Crying leads to a response from a caregiver
E.g. feeding
o If caregiver provides correct response, behaviour is reinforced
o Baby directs crying for comfort towards caregiver who responds with
comforting `social suppressor' behaviour
o Caregiver receives negative reinforcement because crying stops ­ escaping
something unpleasant
o This strengthens attachment
Changing behaviour by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired
response learning whether or not to repeat the behaviour based on consequences

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A02 Evaluation
Point 1 Counter evidence from animal research
Animal studies has shown that actually young animals do not necessarily attach to
those who feed them.…read more

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