Explanations of attachment : Learning Theory

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Explanations of attachment: Learning Theory

Attachment is: 

  • An emotional bond between two people
  • A two-way process that endures over time
  • It serves the function of protecting the infant
  • It leads to certain behaviours:

-Seeking proximity

_distress on separation

-pleasure on reunion

_General orientation of behaviour

Primary attachment firgure

The person who has formed the cloesest bond with the child, demonstrated by the intensity of the relationship.

Learning Theory

Classical condition (behaviourisist)

  • Ivan Pavlov (1977)
  • Learning through association
  • We learn by associating a perticula stimulous with a particular response. 

-stimulus: an event which causes a response

-response: a reaction made because the stimulus has been detected.

Before conditioning

Food (UCS) -------> Pleasure (UCR)

Mum (NS) ---------> No response (UCR)

During conditioning 

Food+mum (UCS+NS) ------->Pleasure (UCR)

After conditioning

Mum (CS) ----------> Pleasure (CR)

The principals of Classical Conditoning can be used to explain attachement. Food (UCS) naturally produces a sense of pleasure (UCR). The person who feeds the infant (NS) becomes associated with the food. The feeder eventually produces pleasure associated with the food, pleasure becomes a conditioned response


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