Learning theory of attachment

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Learning theory of attachment

1.Classical Conditioning

Food (unconditioned stimulus) ----->Content baby (unconditioned response)

Mother+Food                            ----->Content baby (unconditioned response)

Mother (conditioned stimulus)  ----->Content baby (conditioned response)

Attachment is a conditioned response as the infant learns to associate the mother with pleasure it obtains from food, an innate response to a food comes to be elicited in response to a previously neutral stimulus, in this scenario the mother.

2. Operant conditioning

Any response followed by positive reinforcement will be strengthened. All such responses are likely to be repeated in the future. Negative reinforcement can also encourage the same behaviour, whereas punishment is likely to prevent the behaviour from happening again. Attachment occurs because the child seeks the person who can supply the reward.

E.g. Dollard and Miller (1950)

They suggested that a hungry infant feels uncomfortable and this creates a drive to reduce this discomfort. When the infant is fed, the drive


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