Attachment- Learning Theory

  • Created by: DonaJ2002
  • Created on: 16-12-18 18:12

Dollard and Miller proposed that the learning theory explains caregiver-infant attachment- this is also known as cupboard love because it emphasises the importance of the caregiver being the food provider and children learn to love whoever feeds them.

Learning theory= set of theories from the behaviourist approach to psychology, that emphasise the role of learning in the aquisition of behaviour. Explanations for learning of behaviour include classical and operant conditioning. 

Classical conditioning explains the learning of behaviour and involves associating 2 stimuli together so that we respond to both in the same way.  Food is the unconditioned stimulus and we feel pleasure which is the unconditioned response after being fed. A caregiver starts off as a neutral stimulus that produces a neutral response. When this person provides food to the baby, the baby associated the neutral and unconditioned stimuli so, the neutral stimulus becomes the conditioned stimulus and the sight of the caregiver (conditioned stimuli) produces a conditioned response of pleasure known as love to learning theorists.

Operant conditioning explains the learning of behaviour and involves learning to repeat behaviour depending on its consequences. If a behaviour produced good consequences, then the behaviour is repeated+ reinforced.


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