The Evolutionary Theory of Attachment

Topics: Attachment theory, Ethology, Imprinting Pages: 2 (658 words) Published: December 5, 2012
The Evolutionary Theory of Attachment
Bowlby's evolutionary theory consists of a number of essential factors.

The evolutionary theory of attachment as proposed by John Bowlby (1907-1990) suggests that attachment, in terms of adaptation, is essential for survival. In order to progress healthily, children are born with an innate tendency to form attachments. This means that infants are pre-programmed to become attached to their caregiver. This is supported by the research of Lorenz (1952) in stating that imprinting is innate. Lorenz found that goslings imprinted on the first moving object they saw, no matter what it was, even if it was Lorenz. Lorenz demonstrated that animals are not born with a pre-existing view of their parents (innate). This was shown when Lorenz divided two groups of gosling eggs, one stayed with their mother while the other group were put in an incubator until they hatched at which point the first thing they saw was Lorenz. This caused the incubated group to follow Lorenz while the other group followed their natural mother. This proved that the goslings followed whatever they saw first which they then believed to be their mother and imprinted on them. Lorenz’s research shows that attachment may have evolved in many species in order to protect young animals and increase their likelihood of survival. The weakness is the use of noon humans in research, as because it is was conducted on birds it can be criticized for not being able to extrapolate the findings. This is due to the fact that animals do not share the same physiology and anatomy as humans. Therefore observations can’t be generalized. Another issue is the ethics of using non humans. We have to question whether ‘the ends justify the means of breeding animals for the sole purpose of research’, such as Harlow’s monkeys, as they had issues with mating, peer relationships and caring for their offspring conventually. Monotropy which refers to his suggestion that infants form...
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