Evolutionary Attachment Theory

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Describe and evaluate the Evolutionary Explanation of Attachment. (12 marks) * Bowlby’s theory of attachment is an evolutionary theory. He began developing his theory in the 1940s. He believed that attachment is innate and adaptive. We are all born with an inherited need to form attachments and this is to help us survive. He also said that attachments were irreversible- once they were made they could not be broken. * Babies are biologically programmed to form attachments. By doing cute things lie smiling, they form attachments with adults who look after them when they are most vulnerable, helping the baby survive. This is called social releasers. * He also believed in monotropy which meant that babies formed a primary attachment…show more content…
If not, then attachment would not happen normally after this. The critical period was between 0-2½ years. * He also believed in the internal working model otherwise known as the continuity hypothesises. This means that the quality of the first attachment sets the bar for attachments in later life. The first attachment acts as a template for future relationships including a model of how you and other people are likely to behave. * Bowlby also said that babies usually treat mothers of their main attachment figure as their secure base. This means that they associate them with food and security. This keeps the baby close to the main attachment figure. * Hazan and Shaver (1987) did a ‘Love Quiz’. They randomly selected 215 men and 415 women. ‘Secure’ types believed in long lasting love and were confident that they were loveable people. ‘Anxious avoidant’ types thought love didn’t exist in real life. This supports Bowlby’s theory because it shows how the internal working model fits into people’s…show more content…
Individuals classified as ‘secure’ infants were rated the highest for social competence, were less isolated and more popular and empathetic. This shows how the first attachment acted as a model of how they were likely to behave. This supports he internal working model and Bowlby’s theory. * Schaffer and Emmerson investigated 60 Glasgow babies. He found that these babes had multiple attachments who were not necessarily mothers. At 18 months, one third of the babies were strongly attached to their fathers. This goes against monotropy as it suggests that the main attachment figure isn’t always the mother and that a baby is capable of making a lot of strong attachments, so it also refutes Bowlby’s theory. * Zimmerman et al (2000) did a longitudinal study with 44 children in Germany. They found no correlation between childhood attachments and attachments in adolescence. This refutes continuity because it shows that the first attachments did not act as a template for any future relationships, so it also refutes Bowlby’s
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