Explanation of attachment: Bowlby's theory Flashcards Preview

AQA A-level Psychology (Attachment) > Explanation of attachment: Bowlby's theory > Flashcards

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Who inspired Bowlby's theory of attachment?

Lorenz's research on imprinting


What was the name of Bowlby's theory?

The evolutionary theory


What did the evolutionary theory state?

That attachment is an innate process that serves as an important evolutionary function.


What is the purpose and function of attachment?

to keep the baby close to the caregiver for safety and protection, which allows the child to explore and develop with a secure base.


What are social releasers?

A set of innate behaviors that encourage attention from adults which in turn makes the adults love the baby.


Give some examples of social releasers

Smiling, cooing, gripping, crying


Bowlby believed that attachment was an innate process but what other type of process did he also beleived contributes to attachment?

reciprocal process


What are the three key principles to the evolutionary theory?

  • Monotropy
  • Critical period
  • Internal working model


What did Bowlby mean by the term monotropy?

It was the idea that a child makes only one primary attachment figure. This attachment is more important than all the others (which are known as secondary attachment figures).


According to Bowlby who is most likely to be the primary attachment figure?

The mother


What is the law of continuity?

It is the idea that the more constant and predictable the child's care is, the better quality the attachment


What is the law of accumulated separation?

The idea that the effects of every separation from the primary caregiver add up 'and the safest dose is therefore a zero dose'


What are the two laws that affected the process of monotropy?

The law of continuity

The law of accumulation separation


What is the critical period?

A time period where infants have the innate drive to become attached


When is the critical period?

21/2-3 years


What will happen if the child fails to attach in the critical period?

Those children will have difficulties forming attachments in later life.


What determines weather the infant attaches or not during the critical period?

The sensitivity of the primary caregiver


What is the internal working model?

It is a template for future relationships that is based on the infants primary attachment figure.


What aspects does the infant build in the model from the first attachment?

They build a model of themselves as lovable or not, a model of the parent figure as trustworthy or not and a model of the relationship between the two.


What are the 4 headings towards the evaluation of Bowlby's theory?

Is attachment adaptive?

A sensitive period rather than 'critical'

Multiple attachments Vs Monotropy

Continuity hypothesis


Explain the argument for 'is attachment adaptive?'

P= Attachment is undoubtably important in regards to emotional development but may not be critical for survival like Bowlby claims.

E= For example, Bowlby suggested that attachment in an infant does not develop until the infant is older than three months. However, this is too late to protect infants because it is vital for the infants survival to become attached as soon as they are born.

E= This contradicts Bowlby's belief that infants make attachments to their caregivers for survival because the age of which they attach is too late compared to when they actually need protection.

C= However, the age of attachment might be linked to a species life. For example, human infants do not need to cling on from early ages (unlike monkeys) as their mothers can carry them, but when they begin to crawl attachment is vital and this is when attachment develops in humans which supports the view that it is adaptive.


Explain the argument for 'A sensitive period rather than critical'

P= The research group by Rutter et al conducted a study on children who failed to form attachments during the critical period.

E= According to Bowlby it should not be possible for the child to form attachments beyond this period.

E= The results from this study proved this to be true but only to a certain extent.

C= It is not entirely impossible for the infant to form attachments after the critical period and so researchers have renamed it the "sensitive period".


Explain the argument for 'Multiple attachments Vs Monotropy'

P= There is research evidence that supports Bowlby's theory of monotropy.

E= For example, Grossman and Grossman suggested that the father played a key role as a secondary attachment figure and are important in regards to the social development of the child.

E=This supports Bowlby's theory of monotropy because it implies that their is only one primary attachment figure, but secondary attachment figures are still important for the child's development.


Explain the argument for 'Continuity hypothesis'

P= Their is research evidence that supports Bowlby's theory of the internal working model.

E= For example the Minnesota-parent-child study found that infants who were classified as securely attached were the highest rated for social competence later in childhood, were less isolated, more popular and more empathetic.

E= This directly supports the continuity hypothesis because their is a link between early and later attachments.