Learning Theory and Bowlby's Theory

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  • Created on: 14-11-12 13:36
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Learning and Bowlby's theory
Why do we form an attachment?
Instinct ­ It's just natural and it's the way nature is formed
Security and protecting as children are vulnerable
`Sensitive period' high in-sent of impressing
`Imprinting' an image of someone during the `sensitive period
Westermarck effect is children avoiding forming relationships with people they know, this is to avoid
What is attachment?
It's a process which develops and changes
A close emotional bond ­ simple explanation of attachment
It's a two way bond (between an infant and a primary care giver)
A prototype for future relationships
Based on sociability ­ such as clinging and proximity seeking (staying close) and serves the
function of protecting the infant
This is why babies are so cute
Explanations of attachment
Learning theory ­ its main assumptions are we are all born with a blank slate and we learn everything,
learning to attach from birth we learn this through food.
There are two types of way in which we are believed to learn -
Classical ­ learning by association
Operant ­ learning by awards and punishment
Bowlby's theory ­ It's survival of the species, and it's due to the change through evolution and
genetics. We are believed to be born with an innate need to form an attachment, parents (mainly
mothers) Parents also have a need to have an innate need to form an attachment which is purely for
Sensitive period which is 0-2 ½ years if you are unable to form an attachment in this period of time
it's hard to form other relationships.
Internal working model ­ How relationships should be, it explains why children want to stay with
abusive parents; it also means they have dysfunctional relationships.
Monotrapy (one special relationship) and hierarchy
Primary Care Giver (PCG) usually the mother, this the relationship above all others which are
called secondary attachments
If it becomes broken or disrupted then it can affect the attachment between child and

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