Psychologists Have Put Forward Different Explanations of Attachments Such as Learning Theory and Bowlby’s Theory. Outline and Evaluate One or More Explanations of Attachment.

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The learning theories was put forward by a group of behaviourists. It states that we are blank sheets and that we come into the world not knowing anything. It also says that we learn all types of behaviours, including how to form attachments. Behaviour is learned either through classical or operant conditioning. We learn to form attachment through food. Classical conditioning is learning through association between something in the environment (stimulus) and physical reactions (response). In classical conditioning it proclaims that we learn passively and that the response is normally a reflex because it is automatic. Ivan Pavlov was the first person to describe this type of learning. He used his observation of salivating dogs. However, we can apply this to human attachment. Before learning, or conditioning occurs, the conditioned stimulus (UCS), food produces an innate reflex reaction, known as the unconditioned response (UCR), this being pleasure. The food and pleasure are both unconditioned because no learning has occurred at this stage of the learning process. The infant’s mother, the neutral stimulus (NS) is present, food (UCS) will follow which will once again lead to an innate reflex reaction pleasure (UCR). After conditioning, the mother is no longer the (NS), she has become the conditioned stimulus (CS) who triggers the behavioural response, pleasure (CR). The mother becomes a way of gaining pleasure and therefore an attachment has been formed. Operant conditioning on the other hand is when we play an active part in our learning with the environment. We learn as a consequence of something we have already done such as nurture rewards and reinforcement strengthening a behaviour which increases our chances of that behaviour being repeated again. An example of operant conditioning is when a child has eaten all its food it is given a reward by its mother for eating all its food by hugging the child and giving them smiles and kisses. This will en courage the...
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