Slides Shared Resource

1. Attachment Theories Evolutionary theory of attachment (e.g. Bowlby, Harlow, Lorenz) suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form…
of 3
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
  • 1. Attachment Theories Evolutionary theory of attachment (e.g. Bowlby, Harlow, Lorenz) suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. The infant produces innate ‘social releaser’ behaviours such as crying and smiling that stimulate innate caregiving responses from adults. The determinant of attachment is not food but care and responsiveness. Konrad Lorenz Lorenz (1935) demonstrated an example of imprinting (biological attachment) using baby goslings. He suggested that imprinting is a phenomenon exhibited by several species when young, mainly birds, such as ducklings and chicks. Upon coming out of their eggs, they will follow and become attached (socially bonded) to the first moving object they encounter (which usually, but not necessarily, is the mother duck or hen). He carried out an experiment to show that young goslings could form an attachment bond with him, as they had an innate desire to do so. John Bowlby John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst (like Freud) and believed that mental health and behavioural problems could be attributed to early childhood. Bowlby’s evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Bowlby was very much influenced by ethological theory in general, but especially by Lorenz’s (1935) study of imprinting. Lornez showed that attachment was innate (in young ducklings) and therefore has a survival value. Bowlby believed that attachment behaviours are instinctive and will be activated by any conditions that seem to threaten the achievement of proximity, such as separation, insecurity and fear.
  • 2. Bowlby (1969, 1988) also postulated that the fear of strangers represents an important survival mechanism, built in by nature. Babies are born with the tendency to display certain innate behaviours (called social releasers) which help ensure proximity and contact with the mother or mother figure (e.g. crying, smiling, crawling, etc.) – these are species-specific behaviours. During the evolution of the human species, it would have been the babies who stayed close to their mothers who would have survived to have children of their own and Bowlby hypothesised that both infants and mothers have evolved a biological need to stay in contact with each other. These attachment behaviours initially function like fixed action patterns and all share the same function. Bowlby suggested that a child would initially form only one attachment and that the attachment figure acted as a secure base for exploring the world. The attachment relationship acts as a prototype for all future social relationships so disrupting it can have severe consequences. This theory also suggests that there is a critical period for developing at attachment (approx 2.5 years). If an attachment has not developed during this period then the child will suffer from irreversible developmental consequences, such as reduced intelligence and increased aggression. This is known as Bowlby’s theory of MATERNAL DEPRIVATION (inability to form a secure attachment in infancy). The long term consequences of maternal deprivation might include the following: • delinquency, • reduced intelligence, • increased aggression, • depression, • affectionless psychopathy Affectionless psychopathy is an inability show affection or concern for others. Such of individuals act on impulse with little regard for the consequences of their actions. For example, showing no guilt for antisocial behaviour. Harry Harlow Harlow did a number of studies on attachment in monkeys. His first ones were in 1959. He stated that monkeys must form their attachments during the first year of life (re: critical period). His experiments took several forms: 1. Infant monkeys reared in isolation – some died, others were frightened and behaved in an abnormal manner. They could not interact with other monkeys even when they were older. 2. Infant monkeys reared with surrogate mothers – either bare wire mothers or wire mothers covered in soft terry towelling cloth. A feeding bottle was attached to the bare wire mother.
  • 3. The monkeys spent more time with the cloth mother. The infant would only go to the wire mother when hungry. Once fed it would return to the cloth mother for most of the day. If a frightening object was placed in the cage the infant took refuge with the cloth mother. This surrogate was more effective in decreasing the youngsters fear. The infant would explore more when the cloth mother was present. This supports the evolutionary theory of attachment, in that it is the sensitive response of the caregiver that is important (as apposed to the provision of food). Harlow concluded that for a monkey to develop normally s/he must have some interaction with an object to which they can cling during the first months of life (critical period). Clinging is a natural response - in times of stress the monkey runs to the object to which it normally clings as if the clinging decreases the stress. Harlow found therefore that it was social deprivation rather than maternal deprivation that the young monkeys were suffering from. When he brought some other infant monkeys up on their own but with 20 minutes a day in a playroom with three other monkeys he found they grew up to be quite normal emotionally and socially. Harlow’s work has been criticised. His experiments have been seen as unnecessarily cruel (ethics) and of limited value in attempting to understand the effects of deprivation on human infants. To watch a clip of the experiment conducted by Harry Harlow, cut and paste this link into your internet browser.
  • We Need Your Support
    Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

    Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

    No, Thanks