Unit One Attachment

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- Reductionist - breaks into stimulus/responce, it's very mechanical for a natural life process

- Harlow and Harlow provided a monkey with a choice between a wire 'mother' that gave food, and a cloth 'mother' that provided comfort. Learning theory would suggest the monkeys would choose the food, however the monkeys all chose the cloth mother, suggesting comfort is more important that food for infants.

Operant conditioning- 

1) Baby hungry (drive state)

2) Baby cries

3) Baby is fed - food becomes primary reinforcer

4) Mother becomes secondary reinforcer

5) Attachment is formed

Evidence for- 

Skinners pigeons - Skinner placed a pigeon in a box with a small screen. The screen had different commands on, and the pigeon was expected to turn when it was commanded to. When it did, it was given a treat (food) and so learnt when that this behaviour caused pleasure, thus repeating this behaviour.

Classical conditioning:

The Neutral Stimulas in paired with an unconditioned stimulus that already elicits an unconditioned responce, to try generate a conditioned responce.

For example, the mother who is a neutral stimulus is paired with food which produces a responce of pleasure, and after conditioning the mother will produce pleasure in the child even when the food is not present.

Evidence for- 

- Pavlovs dogs - His dogs were conditioned with a bell being rung every time the dog was about to be fed, causing the dog to salivate upon hearing a bell even when food wasnt presented.


Bowlby proped that all infants had an innate ability to form attachments in order to increase their chances of survival when theyre weak and vulnerable. A monotropous relationship is formed with the primary caregiver; the infant produces social releasers in order to ellicit the reciprocal attachment. This primary caregiver provides a secure base for the infant so they feel confident to go off and explore. However attachments made after the sensitive period (3-6 months) are less likely to be successful.The internal working model suggests this first attachments provided a basis for all future relationships and the continuity hypothesis that future attachments will mirror the type and strength of this first attachment.

Evidence for- 

- Hodges and Tizards study of institutionalised children showed that these children who had failed to form secure attachments, went on to struggle to form relationships when they grew up.

Evidence against

- Schaffer and Emerson's study of 60 infants found many had multiple attachments which goes against the idea of monotropy.


The three types and characteristics:

Secure - The infant will have a high willingness to explore the situation. They will experience high levels of stranger anxiety, and will act subdued when left alone. However will accept their mother on reunion.

Insecure avoidant - The infant will have a high willingness to explore, will have low stranger anxiety and will have no concern when left alone. On the mothers return they will avoid contact.

Insecure resistant - The…


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