Everything children become can be explained in terms of experiences they have
Attachment is adaptive and innate
There is a sensitive (critical) period for which development takes place
* Tick two of the statements below to indicate which of the following statements relate to Bowlby's evolutionary theory of attachment. (2 marks)
Attachment takes place during a critical period or not at all.
Infants become attached to the person who feeds them
Infants are innately programmed to form an attachment
Attachments are based on the principles of classical and operant conditioning
This type of learning suggests that we learn because of the presence of food.
What is the Neutral Stimulus for babies before classical conditioning?
Feeling of pleasure
What does the mother become to the baby after classical conditioning, so that the baby then responds to the mother?
Neutral stimulus (NS)
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
Unconditioned response (UCR)
Conditioned response (CR)
Conditioned stimulus (CS)
Operant conditioning takes place because of actions and rewards. An association is made between an action and a reward (reinforcer).
What are the key elements of operant conditioning with babies?
The baby has to learn to form an attachment with its mother
The mother rewards the infant by feeding it, so that the infant associates the mother with the reward, and repeats any action that brings her close
Food brings a feeling of pleasure to the baby, and so is the primary reinforcer: by removing discomfort, it reinforces the behaviour that led to its arrival (negative reinforcement)
The mother is the secondary reinforcer, the presence of the caregiver eventually reduces discomfort and brings a feeling of pleasure. The baby repeats any action that brings the caregiver close e.g. crying
The baby forms an association with the mother and the feeling of pleasure that comes from being fed
At first, the baby simply feels comforted by food. However, each time it is fed, the mother is there too. It quickly associates the mother with the pleasure of being fed.
Before long, the mother stimulates a feeling of pleasure on her own without food even. This means the baby feels happier when the mother is near. It is the beginning of attachment
Find all the strengths of the learning theory.
Operant conditioning cannot be investigated with humans
Ethical issues - morally right to use animals in this way?
Classical conditioning can be done with humans and animals
Pavlov provides evidence to suggest that we learn to attach
Doesn't completely answer why we become attached
Skinner proved operant conditioning
Food may not be the only UCS. Not the only reinforcer - (Harlow 1959 - contact comfort is more important than food)
Doesn't allow for the role of the father
Adequate explanation of learning to attach
Schaffer and Emerson (1964) showed that human studies also challenge the importance of food for attachment. They found that infants were most attached to the person who responded to them the most.
Which of these is not a feature of Bowlby's Evolutionary theory of attachment?
The continuity hypothesis
Internal working model
What is a secure base?
A place where a child can explore the world and have a safe haven to return to when threatened
A place where a child depends on their primary attachment figure the most
The place where a child was brought up, and can return to when threatened
A person who the child can return to throughout their lives when threatened
What is the definition of monotropy?
The idea that the one relationship that the infant has with their primary attachment figure is of special significance in emotional development
Characteristics that are inborn , a product of genetic factors
A social behaviour or characteristic that elicits a caregiving reaction
The idea that emotionally secure infants go on to be emotionally secure, trusting, and socially confident adults
A mental model of the world that enables individuals to predict and control their environment
What does Bowlby's theory not answer?
How attachment affects later romantic behaviour
Why some children cope with attachment that is poor and others do not (hardy personalities)
Evolutionary arguments are post hoc looking back for evidence
The period of time that the sensitive period lasts for
Why some children form more than one attachment
The temperament hypothesis suggests that emotionally secure infants go on to be emotionally secure, trusting, socially confident adults, and that they create a mental model of the world to predict and control their environment