Outline and evaluate an explanation of attachment
Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). Attachment does not have to be mutual. One person may have an attachment with an individual which is not shared. Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969).
Bowlby’s theory states that attachment is adaptive and innate and that it aids the survival of the infant by ensuring its safety, an example supporting Bowlby’s theory is Lorenz’s research, otherwise known as imprinting. Imprinting is the rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal or human establishes a behaviour pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal of its own kind or to a substitute or an object identified as the parent. In Lorenz’s experiment, he split a group of eggs, laid by a duck, into two sub-groups. One group stayed in the care of the natural mother, and the other was stored in an incubator by Lorenz. When hatched, the first thing the incubator group saw was Lorenz, so they associated him as their caregiver. They acted around him as the other group did around the natural mother.
Bowlby also included the “sensitive period” in his theory, this is the idea that an attachment must be formed in the first 2½ years of a child’s life (to the mother) otherwise, none will be made at all. Another factor in his theory is “social releasers”, this is when a child performs emotional actions to receive attention, such as crying or screaming. The caregiver that gives the most attention will become the most attached to the infant, through the infant’s choice.
Bowlby also came up with monotropy, the idea that infants form one special relationship, for example, with their mother. An experiment that supports this is Tronick et al. In this experiment Tronick went to an...
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