Explanations of attachment - Learning theory

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There are two parts to the learning theory of attachment-

CLASSICAL CONDITIONING AND OPERANT CONDITIONING

The main assumption behind the learning theory explanation of attachment was that children learn to become attached to their caregiver because they give them food. Learning can be due to associations being made between different stimuli (classical conditioning) or behaviour can be altered by patterns of reinforcement (operant conditioning).

1) CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
The care-giver who feeds the infant (often the mother) becomes associated with pleasure through satisfying the main drive of hunger. This eventually generalises into a feeling of security (an attachment) whenever the caregiver is present. This kind of association is called CLASSICAL CONDITIONING

BEFORE CONDITIONING:

FOOD (UNCONDITIONED STIMULUS) --> HAPPY BABY (UNCONDITIONED RESPONSE)

DURING CONDITIONING:

MOTHER (NEUTRAL STIMULUS) + FOOD (UNCONDITIONED STIMULUS) --> HAPPY BABY (UNCONDITED RESPONSE)

AFTER CONDITIONING:

MOTHER (CONDITIONED STIMULUS) --> HAPPY BABY (CONDITIONED RESPONSE)

2) OPERANT CONDITIONING:
The main principle of operant conditioning is that behaviour which is reinforced will be repeated. Babies who cry are likely to be…

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