Bowlby's Theory of Attachment

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Bowlby's theory of attachment

Infants are physically helpless, they need adults to feed and care for them and protect them. They cannot survive without much assistance.

Theory- evolutionary

He views atachement as a behaviour that has evolved because of its survival value. 

according to Bowlby infants are born with an innate drive to become attached to the caregiver. By attaching to the caregiver the infant will be fed and protected. 

Attachement is thus adaptive behviour, it increases the likelyhood of survival.

1. The sensitive Period

-second quarter of the first year(4-6 months) is when infants are most sensitive to the development of attachment.

- Outside this window it is difficult for infant-caregiver attachments to form. 

2. Caregiving is adaptive

-attachment is a two way process

-adults are also innately programmed to become attached to their infants.

- infants are born equipped with social releases which elicit caregiving.

- These social releases include smiling and crying as well as facial features.

3. A secure base

-attachment is important for protection

-The careiver acts as a secure base from which the child can explore the world and a safe haven to return to when threatened.

- Attachment fosters independance not dependance. 

4. Monotropy and hierarchy

- Infants form a number of attachments but one of these has special importance.

- The bias towards one individual,the primary attachment figure, is called monotropy.

- infants have other secondary attachment figures that form a hierarchy of attachments.



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