Dollard & Miller suggest that:
- Attachment is learnt by children, as well as adults through the environment. Therefore suggesting, that attachment is learnt behaviour.
- It also suggests that food is the main source which links the infant with the primary care giver. Frued called this Cupboard Love.
- The way attachment is learnt is through two different conditions, these are:
Classical Conditioning- Infants learn attachment through assosiation. This, for example means the primary source, being food. (pleasure). is linked to the person who feeds them (primary care giver). When this assosiation has been made, the infant links that the primary care giver, is what provies the pleasure.
Operant Conditioning- This is were the infant learns through rewards and descipline. If the baby cries, it will get attention from the parent, if the baby smiles it will get positive responses.
Evaluation of Learning Theory
Lorenz suggests that attachment is innate, he proved this by stating that ducks attach to the first thing that they see and are born with the imprint, rather than it being learnt.
Harlow & The monkeys. They found that when given the option between food and comfort, the monkeys instatnly selected and seeked comfort rather than food. Even when they were frightened, the cotton mother was the secure base.
Shaffer & Emerson found that infants seek comfort rather than food, and that infants get attached to the person who they spend more time with.
Tronic looked at wet nurses and the relationship between the birth mum and infant and found that even though they were getting fed by another person, they showed signs of attachment with the biological parent/primary care giver.
However the learning theory is correct because we do learn through association and reinforcement.
Evolutionary Theory (Bowlby)
Bolwby's theory of attachment suggests:
- Attachment is innate.
- Infants give out social releasers which instantly get an adults attention. (Big eyes, small)
- Attachment develops during a sensitive period, (3-6 months). Any time after this makes it difficult to form attachments.
- Infants have one special bond, the monotropu.
- Infants have many secondary attachments.
the continuity hypothesis is that individuals who are securely attached in infancy continue to be socially and emotionally competent.