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What is attachment?
Attachment is the formation of a strong,
reciprocal, emotional bond between an
infant and its primary caregiver.…read more

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Classical conditioning
Learning through association.
Research: dogs
Pavlov conducted research on the salivation reflex in dogs. He recorded
how much they salivated each time they were fed.
He noticed that they started salivating before they were fed.
The dogs salivated as soon as they heard the door open, signalling the
arrival of food.
Dogs associated the sound of the door with food.…read more

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Operant conditioning
Learning occurs when we are rewarded for doing
something.
Behaviour is reinforced.
Dollard & Miller (1950) offered an explanation of attachment
based on operant conditioning.
> They suggested that a hungry infant feels uncomfortable and this
creates a drive to reduce the discomfort.
> When the infant is fed, the drive is reduced and this produces a
feeling of pleasure.
Food, therefore, becomes a primary reinforcer.
The person who supplies the food is associated with
avoiding discomfort and becomes a secondary reinforcer.…read more

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Validity
Learning theory is largely based on studies non-human
animals.
Human behaviour is more influenced by higher order thinking
and emotions.
Behaviourist explanations may lack validity ­ oversimplified
version of human behaviour.…read more

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Strengths of learning theory
Provides adequate explanations of how attachments form.
We learn through association and reinforcement.
Food may not be the main reinforcer, it may be that
attention and responsiveness from a caregiver are
important rewards that create the bond.…read more

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