Attachment Essay

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Outline and evaluate the learning theory explanation of attachment Learning Theory suggests that all behaviour is learnt either through classical conditioning or operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is where an unconditioned stimulus gives an unconditioned response. For example an US e.g. milk would give an UR e.g. baby satisfaction. We would then include a neutral stimulus e.g. mum and pair it with the US (milk) as mum at first would only feed the baby and would not provide the baby with any response, and so the NS plus the US still give an UR e.g. baby satisfaction. Finally, a conditioned stimulus would eventually give a conditioned response as it would have been learnt. So, a CS e.g. mum would give a CR e.g. baby pleasure. Operant conditioning is learning through rewards and punishment. We learn through behaviour that is rewarded and so don’t repeat the behaviour that is punished. For example, a hungry child would feel uncomfortable and so would create a drive to get food, this would eventually lead to being fed and so would reduce discomfort and increase pleasure. This would be the reward. The food would be the primary reinforcer and the person giving the food would be the secondary reinforcer. Learning theory is also known as ‘Cupboard Love’ as mum always seems to be the food source. A study to refute the learning theory would be Harlow’s monkeys. He took 8 monkeys from their mum soon after they were born and kept them in a separate cage, with 2 pretend mums. One mum was a wire mum and the other was a cloth covered mum. For 4 of the monkeys the wire monkey had the feeding bottle and the other 4 the cloth monkey had the feeding monkey. After a period of time he let the monkeys go into a cage with normal monkeys. He placed a drumming toy into the cage to see how the monkeys would react when they were frightened. He found that all the monkeys ran to

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