Outline and Evaluate the Evolutionary Theory of Attachment

345 Words2 Pages
Bowlby put forward a theory of attachment based upon the assumption that attachments are formed due to their evolutionary advantages. The theory states that attachments are adaptive and become attached because of the long term benefits such as feeding and protection from a caregiver. It also states that infants have social releasers which are physical and behavioural characteristics that elicit an innate tendency to look after, such as smiling or crying. The attachment is a monotropic attachment to the mother which occurs within the critical period, which is from birth to two and a half years of age. This attachment helps the infant to form an internal working model which is a schema for all future relationships. An advantage of this is that there is supporting evidence for this theory of attachment. One such piece of evidence is Lorenz who found that baby geese will imprint on the first person they see, even if they are not of the same species. This supports the idea of both imprinting and the critical period and emphasises how attachments are most likely formed for survival purposes. This means that this theory is much more valid and so can be applied to real life situations such as ensuring that a baby is immediately given to the mother after birth to ensure that they become attached. Having said this, this theory lacks historical validity. This is because it is sexist as it was put forward before the feminist movement in which women gained much more independence and no longer remained the primary caregiver. In the modern day there are many fathers who stay at home to take care of the infant while the mother goes out to work, these children do not always go on to form emotional problems. This shows that this theory needs to be altered slightly so as to apply to the modern day. This is because it is clearly lacking in ecological validity. This could be
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