Outline and Evaluate the Evolutionary Explination of Attachments

Topics: Attachment theory, Harry Harlow, Ethology Pages: 2 (693 words) Published: January 15, 2013
The evolutionary explanation of attachment was mainly developed by John Bowlby. Starting in the early 1940s he suggests that there is an innate nature attachment, this meaning that a baby is born biologically with ideas/ behaviours, for a baby to form an attachment with a caregiver. Bowlby suggests that the main reason for this instinctive attachment is due to the primary dependency for food and survival on a mother figure. Based on Freud’s theory that a mother – child relationship is important in forming future attachments Bowlby argues that the primary attachment between the baby and caregiver provided the child with what he calls an internal working model. This he describes as a template for future relationships as it gives the child an idea of whether or not they are lovable and a model of whether the person they are attached to is trustworthy or otherwise. Relating to this Bowlby also used Harlow’s study of rhesus monkeys and the importance of supplying care and comfort in a mother figure to develop what he calls a ‘safe base’ in which an infant feels secure to develop and grow as an individual without threat. The ‘safe base’ would usually be with one care giver of which the child initially formed a strong primary attachment to, otherwise called monotropy. Bowlby also includes in his theory the idea that there is a sensitive period/ critical period of 16 months to 3 years in which an attachment MUST be made to prevent irreversible developmental issues for the child, for example higher levels of distraction or lowered intelligence resulting in difficulty in education and work. Another consequence of this attachment not being developed is the lack of an internal working model making it difficult for the child to form successful future attachments such as friends or a partner; this is also referred to as the continuity hypothesis. During this study Bowlby studied the care giver and the role of a mother in that he claims that mothers have a predisposition to...
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