Bowlby's Evolutional Theory

revision cards on bowlby's theory includes evaluation and definitions

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  • Created by: Zino
  • Created on: 21-10-12 19:33

The Theory

Attachment is an innate behaviour that has evolved for it's survival value.

Children are born with social releasers which elicit care giving.

Attachment develops during the sensitive period (6-8 months).

Primary caregivers act as a secure base and provide an internal working model.

This develops the continuity hypothesis.

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Makes sense that behaviour would have evolved to ensure safety of offspring

Lorenz's ducks- supports idea of innate drive and imprinting

Sroufe et al- securely attached children more popular and socially competent

Schaffer et al- first attachment formed at 6-8 months

Harlow showed that monkeys with an unresponsive mother developed into maladjusted adults


Not clear whether only one primary attachment is necessary for healthy emotional development

Temperament Hypothesis- certain personality or temperamental characteristics of the infant shape a mother's responsiveness

Belsky et al- babies 1-3 days old. those that were less anxious were more likely to be securely attached

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Sensitive period- biologically determined period for the development of attachment

Social releasers- types of behaviour and characteristics which elicit care giving from others nearby

Monotropy- special emotional bond with primary care giver. Infant becomes most strongly attached to the person who responds most sensitively to social releasers.

Secure base- Primary care giver provides foundation for emotional development, self esteem and later relationships.

Internal Working Model- Primary figure-infant relationship creates expectation about future relationships. Acts as template.

Continuity Hypothesis- link between infants early attachment relationship and later behaviours

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