Explanations of attachment - Bowlby's monotropic theory Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Explanations of attachment - Bowlby's monotropic theory Deck (10):

What did Bowlby argue?

That attachment bonds developed through evolution as a control system to maintain proximity to an adult who will ensure the baby's survival. Through evolution babies have become genetically programmed to perform social releasers to stimulate adult interaction such as crying, smiling, vocalising, following and clinging


What did Bowlby believe the critical period was for the formation of attachments?

Prior to twelve months old


Bowlby sees attachments as monotropic - what does this mean?

Infants have a tendency to become attached to one particular adult, usually the biological mother. This is the first attachment to develop and therefore the strongest of all and forms a model for relationships which the infant will expect from others. This is known as the internal working model - a cognitive framework used to understand the world, self and others that acts as a template for future relationships


How does Bowlby view attachment?

As a hierarchy - other attachments are secondary as Bowlby sees 'mothers love in infancy is important for mental health as vitamins and proteins for physical health'


How does Lorenz's research in 1935 support Bowlby's theory?

Lorenz found that certain animals have an innate tendency to respond immediately and consistently to specific forms of stimuli like visual markings or sounds usually displayed by a parent. They are attracted to these stimuli and will follow anyone displaying them. This is the basis of the attachment formation and suggests that such innate pre-programming provides an evolutionary advantage as by staying close to such individuals, new borns are safe - therefore supporting Bowlby's evolutionary theory


How did Schaffer and Emerson's research in 1964 go against Bowlby?

They found that multiple attachments are the norm which opposes Bowlby's idea of monotropy, as does the idea that 39% of children had their main attachment figure as someone other than their main carer


How does Rutter's research in 1981 go against Bowlby?

found that mothers are not special in the way Bowlby believed. Infants display a range of attachment behaviours towards attachment figures other than their mothers and there is no particular attachment behaviour used specifically and exclusively towards mothers which lessens support for Bowlby's theory


How does Lamb et al research in 1982 go against Bowlby?

He studied that attachments infants had with people like fathers, grandparents and siblings and found that infants had different attachments for different purposes rather than attachments being a hierarchy. E.g. infants go to their father for play but their mother for comfort which goes against Bowlby's idea of montropy


What are two strengths of Bowlby's theory?

Research evidence supports the continuity hypothesis that there is a consistency between early attachment types and later relationships in line with Bowlby's theory.
Although Schaffer and Emerson found that children tended to have multiple attachments , they also tended to have one primary attachment figure, supporting Bowlby's idea of monotropy.


What are three weaknesses of Bowlby's theory?

Bowlby's ideas have sometimes been hijacked by right wing politicians as "scientific proof" that women should stay at home with their children instead of working
Bowlby sees fathers as minor attachment figures but research suggests that fathers can be attachment figures in their own right
Bowlby's idea of attachment being a form of human imprinting suggests that mere exposure to another individual is sufficient for an attachment to develop. However Schaffer and Emerson found that attachments occur mainly with individuals displaying sensitive responsiveness which goes against this idea.