Behavioural and Evolutionary theories of attachment in Psychology are two opposing ideas about the ways in which a child attaches to it's primary caregiver. In this essay I will demonstrate the differences between the two theories and use case studies to provide evidence for both the Behavioural and Evolutionary theories. The Evolutionary theory supports the Nature side of the argument, which basically suggests that attachment is something which is biologically pre-programmed into a child at birth. This means that an infant will emit something which is known as a 'social releaser' (e.g crying, smiling, laughing) because they know an adult will respond. However, the Behavioural theory is part of the Nurture debate, which suggests that attachment is a set of learned behaviours from the environment and is not something that a child is born with.
This attachment helps the infant to form an internal working model which is a schema for all future relationships. An advantage of this is that there is supporting evidence for this theory of attachment. One such piece of evidence is Lorenz who found that baby geese will imprint on the first person they see, even if they are not of the same species. This supports the idea of both imprinting and the critical period and emphasises how attachments are most likely formed for survival purposes. This means that this theory is much more valid and so can be applied to real life situations such as ensuring that a baby is immediately given to the mother after birth to ensure that they become attached.
Describe and evaluate Bowlby’s theory of attachment Bowlby’s theory of attachment argues that attachment is adaptive and innate. He believes that infants are all born with an innate need to form attachments because they enable survival. He states that attachment promotes survival in 3 ways; Proximity to an adult provides safety (for example, protection against predators, food and warmth etc. ), it provides a secure base for exploration (and fosters cognitive development and independence) and the internal working model (a schema that gives the infant a basis for future relationships). He also states that infants will form one bond that is more important than all others (Montrophy) and this is linked to the continuity hypothesis.
An example of this theory would be the way a child is raised, if the parents are loving and attentive to the child’s needs the child in most cases will grow and develop into an adult who is caring and loving; however if the parents are distant and non-attentive to the child the child will most likely grow into an adult with a form of attachment disorder in which there is little concern for the wants and feelings of others. * How do experiences influence personality? Experiences that one lives through will greatly influence ones personality. As in the case of Pavlov and his dog, the classical conditioning taught the dog that a bell was rung the dog would salivate at the thought of receiving food. For the human classical conditioning can be represented by the experiences of each individual causing the same type of a response.
Outline and Evaluate Bowlby’s Evolutionary Theory of Attachment. (12mark) Attachment can be described using two theories, one being Bowlby’s attachment theory which is based on an evolutionary perspective. The theory suggests that evolution has produced a behaviour that is essential to the survival to allow the passing on of genes. An infant that keeps close to their mother is more likely to survive. The traits that lead to that attachment will be naturally selected.
‘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.
The innate nature of attachment was illustrated and supported by Lorenz in his studies of geese. Lorenz hatched two groups of geese eggs - one group stayed with their natural mother and the other group were hatched in an incubator. The first moving thing the incubator group saw when they hatched was Lorenz himself, and the geese immediately started to follow him around. When the incubator geese and natural mother geese were mixed together, they would quickly separate into the two original groups and follow either Lorenz or their natural mother. Imprinting of this nature in animals has a clear survival advantage as it keeps them close to their mother who would naturally protect them from predators and increase their chances of survival.
Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment Bowlby was first recorded proposing his “Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis” in 1951 he believed that a child needed a “warm and continuous relationship with the primary care giver” to have a normal internal working model, which suggests a consistency between early and later relationship attachments (this is also called the continuity hypothesis). If this monotropic bond is broken or left undeveloped it will impede the child’s; social, emotional and cognitive development; both in infancy and later life. He then proceeded to spend years changing this idea until he came up with today’s “theory of attachment” which looks more at why and how this bond is formed. The theory suggests that attachment is an innate process for both the child and the primary care giver, the person who is most sensitive to the child’s needs this means that we are born with the capacity to care about someone and that, especially as an infant, we have a tendency to form a strong qualitative bond with one particular individual. For babies and infants this would be the primary care giver, normally the mother.
Klein’s (1984) theory of primitive object relation, postulated the reason an infant develops close ties to his mother is because she is the source of food, referred to as “cupboard love theory”. Mahler, Pine, Bergman (1975): defined Separation and Individuation as the process by which an infant moves from symbiosis with the mother to awareness of separateness from the mother and formation of a relationship with her as a differentiated other. There are many different views on attachment theory. Most recognised is the father of attachment theory, J. Bowlby (1958). Bowlby’s belief a “theory of attachment” was that an infant will establish a “secure base” and strong attachment with their primary caregiver.
These include rolling over, sitting up, and standing, and crying, sucking, and clutching, respectively. Furthermore, responsible parents need to have the knowledge about the ways they can help their child grow and develop socially, intellectually, emotionally, and with their gross and fine motor skills. I learned that the knowledge about the growth and development of a child isn’t necessary with the RealCare Baby, because it is automatic and lacks those actions. However, with my experience with the Baby, I further understand what a strong infant reflex crying is for a baby. It indicates feeding, burping, rocking, diaper changing, amongst other things.