Explanations of attachment: Bowlby's theory

The Evolutionary Theory

HideShow resource information
Preview of Explanations of attachment: Bowlby's theory

First 393 words of the document:

The Evolutionary Theory
· Evolutionary theories say we are innately programmed
John Bowlby (1969) proposed that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to
form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Attachment is important for
survival. Infants are physically helpless and need adults to feed, care for and protect them;
without such assistance they cannot survive. Therefore, it is likely that infants are born with the
innate tendency to form an attachment that serves to increase their chances of survival.
Since attachment is a reciprocal process, it was also likely that adults are innately programmed to
become attached to their infants ­ otherwise they would not respond to their infant, and the
attachment bond would not develop. There are 3 important features of Bowlby's theory:
1) Infants and carers are programmed to become attached
2) As attachment is a biological process, it takes place during a critical period of
3) Attachment plays a role in later development- monotropy and the continuity hypothesis
Bowlby was very much influenced by Lorenz's (1935) study of imprinting. Lorenz showed that
attachment was innate (in young ducklings) and therefore has a survival value.
Adaptive : Attachments are adaptive. This
means they give out species an `adaptive
A advantage', making us more likely to survive.
This is because if an infants had an attachment
to a caregiver, they are kept safe and warm and
given food.
Social Releasers: Babies have social releasers
which `unlock' the innate tendency of adults to
care for them. These social releasers are both:
S 1) Physical ­ baby face and body proportions
2) Behavioural ­ e.g. crying, cooing and
Critical Period: Babies have to form the
attachment with their caregiver during a critical
period of 2 ½ years. If the attachment is broken
C the child will suffer irreversible long-term
consequences: cognitive, social and emotional
difficulties e.g. delinquency, reduced
intelligence, increased aggression and
M Monotropy: The idea that babies form one
main attachment which is to their mother
Internal Working Model: Relationship between
caregiver and infant creates expectations about
I what relationships will be like. Develop these
ideas from their mum. If their mum is

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Evaluating Bowlby's attachment theory
-lots of research support
- imprinting in animals demonstrated by Lorenz is common
-attachment is universal. There is evidence that children form attachments to the people that care
for them
- Tronick et al (1992) : found that an African Tribe, called the Efe, has a very different child rearing
syystem but still demonstrated one primary attachment]
- Schaffer and Emerson (1964) : 'The Glasgow Baby Study' supports Bowlby's idea of monotropy
and a hierarchy of multiple attachments.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »