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What is the definition of attachment?

The formation of a reciprocal, emotional bond between two people involving a feeling of wellbeing and a desire to be close


What are the 4 attachment behaviours?

1. Distress on separation
2. General orientation
3. Seeking proximity
4. Joy on reunion


What does the learning theory of attachment say?

Attachment in learned (nurture)
Babies attach to the person who feeds them


Explain classical conditioning in regards to the Learning theory of attachment

The baby associates the mother (neutral stimulus) with pleasure through feeding


Explain operant conditioning in regards to the Learning theory of attachment

The baby will continue to cry when hungry if they get fed (behaviour positively re-inforced).
The mother will continue to feed the baby because it ends the crying (behaviour negatively re-inforced)


What is a primary reinforcer?

Something satisfying basic biological needs (e.g food)


What is a secondary reinforcer?

Something associated with a primary reinforcer


Name and explain a study that goes against the learning theory of attachment

Schaffer and Emerson
Found that 39% of the attachments formed in young babies were not to the primary caregiver. This shows food not to be the main driving force for the development of attachment


State one methodological point of Schaffer and Emerson's research

It has high ecological validity due to the children being observed in their own homes / natural environment


Name and explain a study that goes against the learning theory of attachment involving monkeys

Harlow and Harlow
Compared infant monkeys seeking comfort from a wire and feeding mother with a cuddly but non-feeding mother. The monkeys went to the non-feeding monkeys, showing that attachment isn't just based on food but also comfort


Name and explain the procedure and results of a study into the development of attachment

Schaffer and Emerson
Studied 60 babies, considering separation anxiety and stranger distress, using observation and interviews.
Found that 65% were attached to the mother, 27% had joint attachment and 39% was not to the primary carer


What does Bowlby's theory of attachment say?

Infants are born with the innate tendency to form attachments in order to survive (need adults for food, care, protection). Adults also innately programmed to form attachments with their infants (reciprocal process). It also provides a template for relationships later in life


What are the 3 aspects to Bowlby's theory of attachment?

1. Infants and carers programmed to form attachments
2. Attachment is a biological process, must take place during a critical period (2 1/2 years)
3. Plays role in later development (continuity hypothesis).


What are 2 differences between the Learning theory of attachment and Bowlby's theory of attachment?

1. Learning theory say attachments are learnt, but bowlby's theory states they are innate
2. Learning theory says an attachment can form at any age, whereas bowlby's says it has to take place during the critical period


Name and explain a piece of research evidence to support the Internal Working Model

Hazan and Shaver
Found a strong relationship between childhood attachment types and adulthood attachment types, supporting the continuity theory


Explain one weakness of a study in support of the internal working model

Hazan and Shaver's study is non-experimental (it is correlational) and so a cause and effect relationship cannot be established.


Name and explain a piece of evidence that goes against the Internal Working Model and continuity

Zimmerman et al
Found that in 44 children/adults, childhood attachment types were not a good predictor of attachments in adolescence. It suggests that continuity would only apply when serious life events do not have an impact on the child


Name and explain a study going against monotropy in Bowlby's theory of attachment

Schaffer and Emerson
By 18 months, 87% of the babies had formed multiple attachments, which was not necessarily the mother