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Theories of attachment…read more

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Learning theory (behavioural)
· Behaviour is acquired through experience.
· Classical conditioning = we learn to respond to
new events and people the se way as we
already respond to other events, so we learn
through association.
· Operant conditioning = we learn repeat
behaviours that lead to some sort of reward
or `reinforcement'…read more

Slide 3

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What does this mean for attachment?
Classical conditioning :
· Food produces a sense of pleasure for the
· When the primary care giver feed the infant a
number of times, food becomes associated
with the primary care giver.
· Therefore person who feed the baby now
produces a sense of pleasure too.…read more

Slide 4

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What does this mean for attachment?
Operant conditioning :
· Can explain why adult carers learn to love
· Whenever a baby cries and the carer responds
by feeding or cuddling them
· Leading to the baby ceasing to cry that loving
behaviour is reinforced.…read more

Slide 5

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Advantages and disadvantages of
learning theory.
× Harry Harlow showed that frightened infant
monkeys will ignore their feeding apparatus and
seek comfort from a soft cuddle object, showing
that food alone does not lead to attachment.
× learning theory can explain attachment ­ infant
do acquire attachment through association and
reinforcement but the reinforcer is not food. For
example a caregiver who is responsive to the
babies needs is providing reinforcement and this
encourages the attachment.…read more

Slide 6

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Psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) theory
· Adult experiences are rooted in childhood experiences,
such as early family relationships.
· Freud suggested that the child development went
through stages. In the first year known as the `oral
stage' the child is very focused on suckling as a source
of food and comfort.
· Because usually a single person provides the bulk of
food and emotional nurture during the first year the
child sees the mother as the `primary love object'
· Freud saw the infant-mother relationship as the
prototype for future relationships.…read more

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