Evaluate the Evolutionary Theory of Attachment Essay

921 WordsFeb 2, 20144 Pages
The first strength of Bowlby’s attachment theory was the research done by Lorenz. Bowlby found that attachment is adaptive and innate a found by Lorenz, who supported Bowlby’s theory. Lorenz carried out research on goslings who imprinted on the first moving object they saw, whether it was a goose or Lorenz himself. The attachment in infants is similar to imprinting as it is important for the short-term for survival, this also relates to long-term adult relationships. A number of studies have shown that adults are less likely to mate with individuals whom they were raised with. This shows that imprinting (or early attachment) is for the purpose of the infant to bond with its mother to make sure they sustain a short-term bond which is important for survival. So the infant can reproduce I the future, which is what evolution, is all about. If attachment did evolve, like Bowlby suggests (biological function), then we would expect attachment and caregiving behaviours to be universal. So there would be no cultural bias. Tronick at al. (1992) studied the Efe from Zaire. He found that even though infants were breast fed by different women (mothers) and slept with their mothers at night, they still had their ‘real’ mothers as their primary attachment figure, by 6 months. This supports the view that attachment and caregiving are universal and not influenced by different cultural practices. This also links to Darwin’s theory that if an infant stays close to its mother will more likely survive and therefore any trait related to such ‘attachment’ will be naturally selected. Bowlby suggested that infants form multiple attachments but these form a hierarchy, with one attachment having a special importance and emotional development. Studies have shown this to be true, such as Tronick et al. and the study by Schaffer and Emerson. Scaffer and Emerson observed 60 babies from mainly
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