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How Psychological Theories Have Been Successful In Explaining Attachments

882 words - 4 pages

How Psychological Theories Have Been Successful in Explaining Attachments

There are various proposed psychological theories that attempt to
explain attachments. Each of which is different and are all partly but
not completely successful at explaining the process's and reasons
behind attachments in animals.

Firstly I will look at the most commonly used theory called 'the
evolutionary approach' created by Bowlby in 1969. This is apparently
the most successful of the theories at it covers most aspects and
gives the most plausible reasons for why attachments occur. Bowlby
propose that infants become attached to a caregiver because attachment
is adaptive. In other words, it is good for their reproductive success
as infants who do not become attached are less likely to survive and
reproduce. Therefore the infants are born with an innate drive to
become attached.

There are two proposed reasons why attachment is good for survival and
reproduction. The first is that it means the infant is more likely to
be well cared for when young and defenceless. The second is
attachments form the basis for later social relationships. They
supposedly provide a template for how to have relationships with other
people, and this promotes survival and reproduction.

Bowlby also believes that the infants themselves elicit care giving
from an adult by using certain social releasers e.g. crying. These
social releasers are innate and if a baby didn't have them then they
would not be cared for. The attachments occur when the baby and
caregiver interact (adult responding to baby's social releasers) as
attachments don't just occur by spending time with and individual, the
baby becomes attached to those individuals who respond most
sensitively to their signals.

Another reason why Bowlby's theory is so successful is because it has
vast quantities of research to support it. One of these studies is by
Schaffer and Emerson and draws on the concept of monotropy, the idea
that the one relationship that the infant has with his or her primary
caregiver is of special significance in emotional development. The two
researchers found that most infants were specifically attached to one
primary caregiver, but many children had two or more equivalent
attachments. This shows that infants can create many significant
attachments to ensure survival and also to have a widened variety...

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