Attachment - Learning Theory

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Learning Theory of Attachment

Ideas: attachments are based on the principles of classical and operant conditioning 

Classical Conditioning:

E.g. Pavlov but with mothers. 

Milk = unconditioned stimulus. A baby's reflex response is automatically feeding which provides an unconditioned response - pleasure when eaten. The baby associates the person who feeds them (neutral stimulus) with the conditioned response of pleasure. This is the basis of attachment.

Operant Conditioning:

Dollard and Miller (1950) 

When fed, the hunger is satisfied, food is the primary


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