Outline and Evaluate Learning Theory

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Psychologists have many different theories to explain attachment, one being the Learning Theory. Before attachment is learned, the child gains pleasure through being fed.Learning theory sees attachments as developing through conditioning processes. This theory is based on behaviourists theory and suggests that all behaviour is learnt rather than innate. Learning theory explains all behaviours acquired through experience via the process of association. Classical conditioning occurs when a stimulus becomes associated with a response while operant conditioning involves learning behaviour due to its consequences via the use of reinforcement. Attachments are seen as occurring through classical conditioning, where babies learn to associate care-givers with food, and unconditioned or primary care-giver due to the pleasure food gives. Care-givers are conditioned or secondary reinforce. The food is the unconditioned stimulus which led to pleasure which is the unconditioned response. When the child is being fed, over time they associate the person providing the food with the food. When the attachment has been learned, the child gains pleasure when the feeder is present without the food. This association between the feeder and a sense of pleasure is the attachment bond. Pavlov ( 1927) suggested that the salivation was a learned response. The dogs were responding to the sight of the research assistants' white lab coats, which the animals had come to associate with the presentation of food. Unlike the salivary response to the presentation of food, which is an unconditioned reflex, salivating to the expectation of food is a conditioned reflex. An unconditioned stimulus like food causes pleasure when eaten, this is unconditioned response as it is not learnt. Caregivers provide food and subsequent pleasure for the infant. So their presence becomes associated with the
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