‘Bowlby’s Evolutionary Theory Of Attachment Sugges

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‘Bowlby’s Evolutionary Theory of Attachment Suggest that Babies are Biologically Pre-Programmed to form Attachments with the Primary Caregiver as a Survival Mechanism’. Discuss this statement in relation to research into attachment. Bowlby described attachment as being a “…lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” Bowlby’s Attachment theory focuses on the ‘connectedness’ between infants and their primary caregivers i.e. their mothers, He states that this connection is an innate process which evolved as a survival mechanism to protect the infants and ensure that genes could be passed on. Bowlby’s attachment theory was heavily influenced by Darwin’s survival of the fittest as well as animal studies such as Lorenz’s geese study. In this study, Lorenz found that geese would attach to the first thing they saw moving once they hatched, this included a watering can. Lorenz coined the term ‘imprinting’ to describe this phenomenon. He believed that there was a critical period in which this had to happen (5 to 24 hours) or an attachment would never be made. Bowlby built on this idea and believed that humans also have a critical period for attachment. If attachment was not made by 2.5 years, infants would never be able to form an attachment. Although Lorenz’s study appears to support Bowlby’s ideas, it is important to remember that the cognitive abilities of geese will differ greatly from that of human infants and therefore it is difficult to generalise the results to humans. It can also be argued that depriving animals of an attachment is unethical. Sluckin contradicted Lorenz’s critical period and proposed that there was a ‘sensitive period’ which stated that if no attachment was made in the first 24 hours it could still be made after this time. This could therefore be true of human attachments as well. A major theory which was also influenced by Lorenz
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