Describe and evaluate one explanation of attachment

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There are various explanations for attachment, but one of the most used by behaviourists is the Learning Theory. This theory suggests that attachment is formed through either classical, which involves learning through association i.e.; an unconditioned stimulus as food can produce pleasure meaning the person who feeds the infant, most likely the caregiver is associated pleasure thus forming an attachment or operant conditioning which is learning through rewards or punishment. The Learning Theory attempt to explain attachment, which is referred sometimes to the cupboard love theory, as this theory proposes that the infant only becomes attached in this instance because he or she is fed and the infant becomes attached to the person who feeds him or her. However, the operant conditioning side was used by Dollard and Miller in 1951, which they claimed was more complex as the infant feels uncomfortable when they are hungry and their primary caregiver reduces that discomfort whilst pleasuring them hence them becoming attached. There are some positive aspects in this explanation such as that we all learn through association as well as reinforcement which this explanation is based on. Yet, on the other hand food may not be the main reinforcer as attention and responsiveness form a caregiver are also rewarding. Unfortunately for the Learning Theory there is an increasingly high weakness to strength ratio. For example; a study by Harlow demonstrated that food isn’t everything as his study concerned monkeys who were raised by their own two wire mothers, however one was covered with a cloth and offered no food whilst the other offered food without comfort. According to the Learning Theory, the monkey should have been attached to the food mother, yet Harlow claimed that the young monkeys spent more time with the comfort mother, especially when they were
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