Outline and Evaluate John Bowlbys Evolutionary Theory of Attachment

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Outline and Evaluate John Bowlbys evolutionary theory of attachment John Bowlby’s evolutionary theory was proposed in 1953 and suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed, to form attachments with others, because, this will help them to survive and reproduce. Whereas, failure to form attachments could lead to serious long term consequences for the child. The reason as to why Bowlby’s theory is evolutionary is because, in his view, attachment is a behavioural system that has evolved due to its survival value. There are a variety of main points suggested by Bowlby which make this theory so vital. Firstly, he imposed that the attachments are innate; i.e. Attachment is biologically pre-programmed into children at birth and are encoded in the human genes, to ensure that they can form relationships with the caregiver. He also argued that there were critical periods for attachment which included the 23rd, 24th and 25th day when the child develops limbs, as well as the second trimester where development of the brain occurs. This period is crucial as, if something goes wrong, the child is likely to suffer from impairments, like schizophrenia. Birth is also another vital period as late or early conception can also lead to impairments, as well as walking and talking which should be learned by the age of 4. He also believed that attachment is adaptive as it gives the child the confidence needed in order to explore the world independently when they grow older. Bowlby also suggested that infants emit social releasers. Babies behave in ways that adults find ‘cute’ and that release emotions, particularly in females. Cooing, gurgling, smiling and laughing create happy emotions in adults. Crying, distressed facial expressions, and frustration create ‘care giving’ emotions in adults that make them want to alleviate the infant’s distress. This is an

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