John Bowlby's Theory of Attachment

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John Bowlby’s theory of Attachment John Bowlby is an evolutionary psychologist within the filed of developmental psychology. His theory provides an evolutionary perspective towards attachment combining Freud’s views on the importance of the maternal care (psychoanalytic approach) and the ethnologists’ views on imprinting. Bowlby’s theory suggested that attachment is an innate and adaptive process. An infant is genetically programmed in a way for survival and has been ascribed skills such as sucking, grasping, crying: known as “social releasers”. Bowlby believed that a mother has similar genetic coding that allows her to react instinctive to, and respond to her infants needs. Bowlby stated that the first attachment formed is the most important and he believed this should be the mother. He called this “monotrophy”. This attachment must be formed within a “critical period” in the infant’s early life for it to be effective. This first attachment is imperative to enable the child to go on and form other attachments and develop socially and emotionally. John Bowlby conducted a study to on the effects of “maternal deprivation”. He studied two groups of 44 boys. The first group was named the “thieves”-so called because they had been known to be delinquents. The control group was a similar group of boys who had been classed as “emotionally disturbed but hadn’t committed any crimes yet. Bowlby used investigative techniques drawing on data collated at the clinic they attended and from teachers, family and other authoritative representatives. Crucially, he concentrated on the boys’ earliest experiences. He found that the in the first group, half of the boys’ had suffered separation from their mothers’ for longer than six months in the first 5 years of life. The second group, only two boys had suffered similar separation. Bowlby called this affectionless
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