Outline the learning theory of attachments

He also concluded that early maternal deprivation leads to emotional damage but that its impact could be reversed in monkeys if an attachment was made before the end of the critical period.

Reciprocity AO1 The word reciprocal means two-way, or something that is mutual. Harlow concluded that privation i. John Bowlbyworking alongside James Robertson observed that children experienced intense distress when separated from their mothers.

In addition, a sense of security has developed, in that even when his mother is not physically there, he knows she is always there for him.

Anxious avoidant insecure attachment: The behavioral theory of attachment would suggest that an infant would form an attachment with a carer that provides food. Smiling is an example of reciprocity — when a smile occurs in the infant it triggers a smile in the caregiver, and vice versa. The primary caregiver is the neutral stimuluswhich becomes associated with food the unconditioned stimulus.

The infants of the second group would only go to the wire mother when hungry. Bowlby suggested that a child would initially form only one primary attachment monotropy and that the attachment figure acted as a secure base for exploring the world.

One person may have an attachment to an individual which is not shared. Experience has taught them that they cannot rely on their mother. Classical conditioning Food is the unconditioned stimulus and pleasure is the unconditioned response.

When this does not occur, it has negative consequences on development, causing a decline in intelligence, depression, aggression, delinquency, and affectionless psychopathy a situation in which one is not concerned about the feelings of others [2].

Animal Studies of Attachment AO1 Harlow wanted to study the mechanisms by which newborn rhesus monkeys bond with their mothers.


Procedure 16 monkeys were separated from their mothers immediately after birth and placed in cages with access to two surrogate mothers, one made of wire and one covered in soft terry towelling cloth.

The determinant of attachment is not food, but care and responsiveness. Government officials say that "eventually, robots will be able to take up and assume many of these tasks that women are currently doing at present".

It shows fear of strangers stranger fear and unhappiness when separated from a special person separation anxiety. However this might be a very stereotypical view rather than reflect reality as fathers might not have been directly involved in the day to day care but they were involved in factors like play, instruction and guidance.

Scientific American, 3 This process is known as imprinting, and suggests that attachment is innate and programmed genetically. Multiple Attachment 10 months and onwards The baby becomes increasingly independent and forms several attachments. Infant and caregiver are able to anticipate how each other will behave and can elicit a particular response from the other.

The infant would only go to the wire mother when hungry. Infant monkeys reared with surrogate mothers — 8 monkeys were separated from their mothers immediately after birth and placed in cages with access to two surrogate mothers, one made of wire and one covered in soft terry toweling cloth.

They acts passively, and feel insecure. Three measures were recorded:Another explanation learning theory provides is that attachments are formed through operant conditioning; learning by reinforcement – positive or negative.

Outline and Evaluate the Learning Theory of Attachment

This can explain the mothers bond with the child for example a mother will receive reinforcements for behaviours.

Stages of attachment identified by Schaffer, and multiple attachments.


The role of the father. Animal studies of attachment: Lorenz and Harlow. Explanations of attachment: learning theory and Bowlby’s monotropic theory.

The concepts of a critical period and an internal working model. This goes against the learning theory of attachment.

Attachment Theory (Bowlby) 2 years ago • Child Development Theories, Learning Theories & Models • 1 Summary: Attachment theory emphasizes the importance of a secure and trusting mother-infant bond on development and well-being.

Attachment theory is centered on the emotional bonds between people and suggests that our earliest attachments can leave a lasting mark on our lives.

Explain how the learning theory in attachment is known as the "cupboard love" theory It emphasises the importance of food in attachments Outline the 3 main aspects of classical conditioning when explaining attachments.

Evaluating learning theory of attachment Learning theory provides a very plausible and scientifically reliable explanation for attachment formation. It seems highly likely that simple association between the provision of needs essential for survival and the person providing those needs can lead to strong attachments.

Outline and evaluate.

Outline the learning theory of attachments
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