Psychology AS - Developmental Psychology

bowlbys theory of attachment - real whopper this one!

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Bowlby's theory of attachment - Explanations


Attachment promotes survival in a similar way to imprinting observed in animals. The infant displays an innate readiness to form an immediate attachment with a mother figure.

Sensitive period

Infants have a innate drive to form an attachment and this can last from 3 - 6 months after that it beocmes much harder to form attachments.


Adults have an innate tendency to become attached to their young. Bowlby suggested infants have social releasers like laughing or smiling facers which elicit caregiving.


Infants have one special emotional bond (monotropy) with their primary attachment figure (usually mother). infants also have many secondary attachments that are important for healthy psychological and social development.

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Research evidence


 Lorenz (1952) demostrated how goslings imprinted of the first moving object they saw. In this study they imprinted of him and followed him closely as though he was their mother.

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Bowlby's theory of attachment - Strengths and Weak


The reaserch supports many of Bowlby's concepts to be valid

It makes sense that behaviours would have evolved to ensure safety of offspring and that attachment  is therefore an innate thing.


The concept of monotropy: not accepted by everyone. Rutter (1995) argued that attachment figures are just as important, but it is still unclear which is more important.

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