Psychodynamic theory - Freud
Children go through psychosexual stages - oral stage (birth-2yrs).
- Breast feeding makes the mother the primary love object for provding a souce of oral satisfaction.
- Mother's status is unique without parallel.
- Established unalterably for a whole life time as the first and strongest love object.
- The prototype of all future relationships.
- If a secure relationship is not formed as the first attachment, a secure attachment will never be formed.
- critisiced by learning theorists as he believes this is due to biology
- infants can attach to multiple figures
- psychosexual stages cannot be proven
- disproved by Harlow / Schaffer and Emerson
1 of 6
Learning theory - Dollard & Miller
All behaviour is learnt through experiences
- Classical conditioning - learnt via association
- Operant conditioning - learnt via trial and error
- Classical conditioning reinforces attachment between baby and carer as carer provides food.
- During feeding carer gives positive releasers and these are associated with the carer.
- Too much emphasis on feeding - not supported by Harlow / Schaffer and Emerson.
- Difficult to explain stranger anxiety and sudden reactions.
- proves attachment may not be biologically determined.
2 of 6
Social learning theory - Hay & Vespo
Direct reinforcement is important in the attachment process
- Caregiver's loving behaviour teaches child how to be affectionate - then attach
- Child will learn to reciprocate the love by copying the mother's actions
- Doesn't explain emotional intensity involved in attachment
- No doubt some attachment behaviours shown by children are the result modelling, direct teaching and encouragement
- supported by Harlow / Schaffer and Emerson
3 of 6
Ethological/Biological/Evolutionary theory - Loren
- Attachment related to imprinting
- Nesting birds - attached to moving object if exposed within critical period
- Attachment happens automatically and is irreversable
- Generalising from animals to humans- inaccurate
- Concept of critical period - too rigid
- Better than learning theory to explain the intensity of emotional bonds
4 of 6
- Attachment is innate - adaptive process
- Principles of imprinting can be applied to humans - critical period
- Infants use social releaser behaviours to demand caregiving - genetic
- Monotropy - only form a special attachment to one person
- Main attachment shapes development - shapes emotional and social development for future relationships
- attachment affects cognitive development
- Adults are sensitive to social releaser behaviours - mother's genetic programming
Eval notes seperate
5 of 6
- Scaffer and Emerson found children form multiple attachments and may not attach to their mother - against monotropy
- Harlow - monkeys did have a primary care giver but attached to eachother instead - against monotropy
- Critical period - too rigid - now called sensitive period
- Harlow agree with Bowlby that social and emotional development may be damaged if no attachment is formed
6 of 6