However, attachment can still take place at other times but it becomes increasingly difficult. Attachment acts as a secure base for exploration, which influences independence rather than dependence. Bowlby argues that infants form a single special attachment with their particular primary attachment figure, usually the mother. This is called monotropy. Other attachments may develop in a hierarchy.
Infants in biologically organize their attachment behaviors around the availability of their caregivers. When infants find caregivers to be available in times of need, they tend to develop expectations that caregivers will be there in the future of times needed in the future. Behaviorally, these infants then seek out the comfort they need (Sroufe, 1989) from caregivers with confident expectations that they will be soothed. Such infants are categorized as having secure attachments to caregivers. When caregivers are not responsive to infants’ needs or there are many different caregivers in an infants’ life, infants can develop an insecurity to bond because they cannot identify who the main caregiver is supposed
Bowlby (1969) therefore supporting that emotional expression is important in children’s development as it effects other aspects of development in children. * The visual cliff experiment, Sorce et al (1985) supports that emotions are linked to attachment as the experiment is conducted with the main caregiver i.e. mother and the child. The child was more likely to cross over the transparent glass if the mother displayed a positive facial expression e.g. smile or a warm look and they had a strong bond.
He showed that for survival they ‘imprint’ on the first moving object they see, this is usually the mother and they follow this in order to be fed and to ensure safety. Lorenz showed that if the Goslings did not imprint properly, or on the wrong object they may grow up unable to mate effectively. John Bowlby was inspired by Lorenz’s research and applied the principles of imprinting to the human infant-primary caregiver relationship and developed his evolutionary theory of attachment in 1969. According to Bowlby the infant has a biological urge to form attachments. His theory proposed that attachment was important for survival, since infants are physically helpless and need an adult to feed, care and protect them.
Another important evolutionary concept in Bowlby’s theory was the idea of monotropy where infants form an attachment to one primary caregiver which is usually the biological mother. Bowlby thought that this process of attachment took place during a critical period, which was the first three years of the child’s life and that if an attachment wasn’t formed during this time, there would be no later attachment at all. Bowlby also considered some more emotional concepts in his theory as well, one being that as a result of the relationship between the baby and the caregiver, an internal working model would be developed by the child & this includes whether they view themselves as loveable or not etc. which would them provide an important template for later relationships which is referred to as the continuity
Birth is also another vital period as late or early conception can also lead to impairments, as well as walking and talking which should be learned by the age of 4. He also believed that attachment is adaptive as it gives the child the confidence needed in order to explore the world independently when they grow older. Bowlby also suggested that infants emit social releasers. Babies behave in ways that adults find ‘cute’ and that release emotions, particularly in females. Cooing, gurgling, smiling and laughing create happy emotions in adults.
He proposed a theory of continuation; individuals who are securely attached during infancy develop to be socially and emotionally competent in the future, on the other hand, insecurely attached children have more social and emotional difficulties later on in childhood and adulthood. The reason behind this is because the mother’s behaviour creates an internal working model of relationships that in effect leads the infants to expect the same in later relationships. According to Bowlby, children have an innate determination to become attached to a caregiver because it has long-term benefits as does Imprinting. This is because both attachment and imprinting ensures that a young child/animal stays close to a caregiver who can provide it with food, comfort and protection. In this way, attachment and imprinting are adaptive behaviours.
What does research show about the effects of day-care on children’s social development? Day-care can be defined as being: regular temporary separation; outside the home environment and not with a family member. However the effects of day-care on social development of infants and into later life is a controversial debate between psychologists. Some such as John Bowlby saw that maternal deprivation caused by separation of infant from mother, due to day-care caused harmful effects - such as mental health issues and behavioural problems - on the infants social development. Bowlby believed in the evolutionary theory of attachment suggesting that humans were born biologically programmed to form attachments in order to successfully survive.
Bowlby’s research identified a maternal deprivation hypothesis which stated that an infant had to form an attachment to its mother during the first two years of its life, known as the critical period, and if this attachment was disrupted due to deprivation the child would develop irreversible intellectual, social and behavioural problems in later life. Attachment was defined by Mary Ainsworth as a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (www.simplypsychology.org, 2011). Bowlby quoted in his 1951 report that mother love in infancy was as important for mental health as was vitamins and proteins for physical health. Bowlby’s theory was influenced with the ethological works of Lorenz’s study on imprinting, the rapid attachment formed as a result of following a moving object shortly after birth, and Harlow’s study on Rhesus Monkeys, which both concluded that attachment to a main care giver in young ducklings and monkeys, respectively, was imperative and instinctive for survival. Bowlby’s research highlighted the idea of monotropy, which suggested that children were genetically programmed to form attachments to their mother, the main care giver, and that it was important for
The work of Bowlby suggested that attachment is innate. He also emphasised on the importance of caregiver sensitivity and the internal working model leading onto the continuity hypothesis. The internal working model suggests that as infants, we internalise a template of what to expect from relationships using our primary attachment figure. This then develops to an attachment type as found by Mary Ainsworth. The effect on adult relationships of these attachment types developed as a child however was initially investigated by Shaver and Hazer who put out a questionnaire in a newspaper that questioned couples about their childhood experiences (which would determine attachment type as a child) and their current relationships.