Evaluate Bowlby's Evolutionary Theory

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Evaluate Bowlby’s evolutionary theory of attachment Attachment is an emotional connection or bond which involves being dependent on another person. When applied to the ‘Attachment Theory’ it is an emotional connection between the child and the primary caregiver which is dependent on mutual affection. Bowlby’s theory of attachment was evolutionary. The theory of evolution was developed by Charles Darwin, the theory states that all species evolve through time through natural selection. As species reproduce and the generations go by the traits which helped the animal survive are passed on. This is where the idea of the ‘survival of the fittest’ was developed. There is an evolutionary advantage to forming attachments and this is where the work of Konrad Lorenz comes in. In 1952 Lorenz worked with Goslings (baby geese) to show that there is a critical period in which attachment to the mother must take place. 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. Bowlby’s theory can be broken down into five key points. Firstly Bowlby defined attachments as adaptive, meaning that they give humans an ‘adaptive advantage’ making us more likely to survive and reproduce. This is because if an infant has an
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