Developmental - Explanations of Attachment - Unit 1 AQA A

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Evolution Theory
Outline Innate. We had evolved a biological need to attach to our main caregiver, usually our
mother. Monotropy. Has survival value as it ensures food and protection. A strong attachment
provides us with a safe base, giving us confidence to explore out environment. It also gives us a
template for all future relationships, we learn to trust and care for others (internal working model).
The first three years of life are the critical period for this attachment to develop, otherwise it may
never do so. If the attachment doesn't develop, or if it's broken,it might seriously damage the child's
social and emotional development. Attachments are instinctive behaviours or both babies and
parents that have evolved because they increase the likelihood of survival. Social releasers. The
attachment formed as a child affects later adult relationships (the continuity hypothesis). Imprinting.
Support Harlow's monkeys support the idea that we have evolved a need to attach.
Hazan and Shaver's Love Quiz study showed that attachments in childhood do often predict adult
love relationships, supporting the idea of an Internal Working Model.
Konrad's geese - imprinting
Limits But Harlow's monkeys also goes against the idea of monotropy. Other monkeys who didn't
have a mother, but who grew up together, didn't show signs of emotional and social disturbance in
later life.
Schaffer and Emerson provided evidence against monotropy as they found that many children form
multiple attachments and may not attach to their mothers.
Hodges and Tizard showed that attachments can still be formed after the age of four (if adopted).
Kagan's temperament hypothesis
Learning Theory
Outline behaviourist theory. Classical conditioning (association) and operant conditioning (trial and
error, positive and negative reinforcement). Attachments are based upon feeding. Parents act as
role models for children, teaching them how to give and receive affection.
Pavlov's dogs ­ showed classical conditioning (cupboard love theory)
Skinners rats ­ operant conditioning with positive reinforcement of food
Harlows monkeys ­ strongest attachment was with mother that gave comfort
Schaffer and Emerson ­ Around 4 in 10 babies formed their first attachment to someone who played
with them

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Often criticised for being reductionist ­ (reduces complexities of the mind to over simplify to things
like reinforcement and stimulus).…read more


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