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Evaluation of Bowlby's Evolutionary theory:
Shaffer and Emerson:
Support for the evolutionary theory of attachment.
They conducted a study in which 60 babies from working class backgrounds
were observed in their natural environments. They found that infants had many
attachments to mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends. However
they maintained one primary object of attachment based on the quality of the
Therefore this suggests that there is a monotropy of one single care-giver
whom they share a special bond with (the primary attachment figure).
Multiple attachment theory:
There is not one primary attachment figure.
It suggests that they can be all integrated into one single model.
Therefore this is a limitation of the suggestion that there is a hierarchy
involved with the attachment figures involved with an infant and one single
significant bond with a primary attachments figure.
He showed through his research that infant monkeys formed a one way
attachment with an unresponsive/insensitive "wire mother".
The monkeys became quite maladjusted adults and had difficulties reproducing.
Therefore the monkey's internal working model was affected in the long term
which supports the evolutionary theory.
They were not developing an emotional bond to
the wire figure even though it was providing them
food or comfort.
This disproves the learning theory of attachment
and therefore supports the evolutionary theory
put forward by Bowlby.
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This suggests that innate personalities may affect the attachment between
mother and child.
Belsky and Rovine (1987) assessed babies aged 1-3 years old and found that
infants who were calmer and less anxious were more likely to be securely
This suggests that the ability of attachment can be to do with the babies'
temperament and not just to do with the social releasers that they give off
which makes them more appealing to care for.
Therefore this goes against the evolutionary theory.…read more