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Theories of Attachments

Theories of attachment 1) “cupboard love” theories – psychodynamic/behaviourists 2) The ethological approach 3) Bowlbys evolutionary theory 4) Social learning theory Studying attachments and their loss can help us understand how early relationship experiences can affect later development What is attachment? An intense emotional relationship that is specific to two people that endure over time.

Prolonged separation brings stress and sorrow 1, “cupboard love” theory – psychodynamic theory Sigmund Freud developed a theory of personality, to explain how each person’s personality develops he proposed that attachment grew out of the feeding relationship Key The psychodynamic approach analyses the psyche (your mind) i. e.

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it breaks down into constituent parts such as the id/ego/superego Psychoanalysts (like Freud) believe that:

All babies are born with an innate drive to seek pleasure; Freud called this the pleasure principle Freud said there is a particular structure of the personality that is motivated by this principle: the id The id is the primitive part of our personality, which demands immediate satisfaction; all people pass through psychosexual stages. First stage of psychosexual development is oral, thus babies demand oral satisfaction The mother is the first love object because she feeds the child and so an attachment is formed. Freud saw this the first relationship as the foundation the foundation of all others.

Infants attach to their caregivers (usually the mother) because of the caregivers ability to satisfy its instinctual needs. Quality of attachment and future relationships Healthy attachments are formed when the feeder practices to satisfy the infants needs, unhealthy attachments are formed when infants are deprived or over indulged. If the child’s first relationship is loving, the child develops the ability to love, if not, adult relationships will be unsatisfactory Consequences If an infant is deprived at an oral stage, she/he will become fixated at this stage.

Consequently, psychoanalysts stress the value of feeding, especially breast feeding. *research evidence does not supports this theory because the person who provides food does not always become the primary attachment object, evidence against this theory is the same for the learning theory. Learning theory Behaviourists believe that : Infants attach to those who satisfy their psychological/physical needs Learning theorists/behaviourists believe all behaviour is acquired through conditioning: 1)classical conditioning 2)operant conditioning Or through imitation 3)social learning theory

Behaviourism Classical operant 1) Classical conditioning Food (unconditioned stimulus) produces pleasure (unconditioned response) So becomes associated with the person doing the feeding, who then becomes (conditioned stimulus) who now also produces pleasure even when no food. Babies associate caregivers with gratification, and learn to approach caregivers to have their needs met, they feel secure whenever caregiver is present Attachment works both ways Mothers get: Positively reinforced -by the baby smiling and developing

Negatively reinforced -by the cessation of crying 2) Operant conditioning Dollard and miller (1950) adopted this principle To incorporate the concept of the mental states, a hungry baby feels uncomfortable creating a drive to reduce to comfort, when a baby is fed the drive is reduced, providing a sense of pleasure ( a reward) Food becomes the primary reinforce because it reinforces behaviour to avoid discomfort so becomes the secondary reinforce (conditioned) Social learning theory Babies learn by imitation, modelling a direct reinforcement.

Hay and vespo believe parents deliberately teach their children to love them, by modelling affection parents also teach children in an explicity way to show affection * We learn through association and reinforcement but food may not be the main reinforce Harry Harlow challenges behaviourists and psychoanalytic “cupboard love” theory -study of the rhesus monkey -study of Scottish infants The ethological approach -ethology is the study of animal behaviour, in its natural environment Ethos=habit, manner Ethnologists introduced the concept of “attachment” Imprinting

Some animals such as : sheep, geese for rapid attachments very soon after birth they attach to any moving individual present and follow them ,as if they were their mother. Lorenz (1935) called this imprinting *made geese follow him* Imprinting has: -short term consequences safety -long term consequences reproduction Definition of imprinting The tendency of non-humans to form a strong bond with the first moving object they see typical in precocial (new-born can move around) species like lambs, foals Imprinting doesn’t occur because the caregiver feeds the new-born, e. . goslings which contradicts the “cupboard love” theory Imprinting is a fixed action pattern (fad) i. e. a behaviour that occurs in response to a species – specific stimulus, once imprinting has occurred, it is irreversible Critical period Imprinting must occur within a critical period, if biological characteristics don’t develop at a specific time, then they never will research shows that the critical period can be extended by changing environment Sensitive period Some ethnologists say” instead of a critical period, there is a sensitive period: i. . a time when learning is most likely to happen, will occur most easily but learning can still occur at other times *imprinting in humans* Imprinting research mostly with animals Humans :Klaus and kennels skin to skin hypothesis (1976) There is a sensitive period immediately after birth when bonding can occur through skin-to –skin contact, a year later these mothers and babies had stronger attachments But Goldberg (1983) found that the effects of early contact are small and short-lived

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