Nature v's Nurture Debate

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Discuss the Nature-Nurture debate, as applied to attachment area of developmental psychology. “The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of its mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all of its needs without delay. (Freud 1926, cited in Holmes 1993: p. 63) Freud lay the ground works for the research that has been carried out and is continuously being investigated; the question; What is the nature of the bond linking one human being to another and how does it develop? According to Martin et el, (2007) evidence suggests that human infants are innately able to produce special behaviours that shape and control the behaviour of their carers. Bowlby put forward the principle of monotropy, believing that the infant displays a strong innate tendency to form an attachment with one significant person, not necessarily, but usually the mother. (Gross, R. 2005). This was criticised by Rutter (1981), who claimed that the mother is not special in the way that the infant shows its attachment, as children will show a whole range of attachment behaviours towards a variety of people. Bowlby (1969), cited in Martin et al 2007 p. 546) claimed that the most important attachment behaviours are sucking, cuddling, looking, smiling and crying. According to Freud the newborn infant lives in a solipsistic world of ‘primary narcissism’ and experiences a build-up of tension with the need to suck the breast as an expression of his infantile sexuality. The mother provides the vehicle for the discharge of this libido, which Bowlby calls the ‘cupboard love theory’. However, he sees attachment between infant and mother as a psychological bond in its own right and that the young child’s hunger for his mother’s love and presence is as great as his hunger for food. (cited in Holmes 1993: p.62-63).
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