Psychology AS Unit 1 - Bowlby's Theory (Evolution)

HideShow resource information

Evolution: Bowlby's Theory

  • Bowlby proposed that attachment was important for survival.
  • Without feeding, care and protection from adults, infants would not survive. 
  • Infants are born with innate tendency to form attachments.
  • Since attachments have to be reciprocal, it should follow that adults are also innately programmed to become attached to their infants.
  • Suggested that there must also be some long-term benefits of attachment.
  • He suggested that attachment may be important for emotional relationships as the relationship between the primary caregiver and the infant provides a template upon which all other relationships are based.



3 important features of the theory:

 1) Infants and caregivers are programmed to become attached

 2) As attachment is a biological process, it takes place during a critical period in development or not at all 

 3) Attachment plays a role in later development - monotropy and the continuity hypothesis

Explanations of the 3 features:

1) Innate Programming

Bowlby suggested that all physical and psychological characteristics are naturally selected.

A characteristic is selected if it helps the individual to survive a reproduce

The result of natural selection is




You do realise there are 6 features not 3? 

Poonam Patel


We were only taught 3 as that's all we needed :) 

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »