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Attachment theory term papers

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Attachment Theory Term Paper | apensireara.tk

Submit payment details. Choose your favorite among the safest payment options. Get your homework done. From 3 months infants smile more at familiar faces and can be easily comfortable by a regular caregiver. Special preference for a single attachment figure. The baby looks to particular people for security, comfort, and protection. It shows fear of strangers stranger fear and unhappiness when separated from a special person separation anxiety.

Attachment theory and research: Review of the literature

Some babies show stranger fear and separation anxiety much more frequently and intensely than others, nevertheless, they are seen as evidence that the baby has formed an attachment. This has usually developed by one year of age.

Attachment Revision

The baby becomes increasingly independent and forms several attachments. By 18 months the majority of infants have formed multiple attachments. The results of the study indicated that attachments were most likely to form with those who responded accurately to the baby's signals, not the person they spent more time with.

Schaffer and Emerson called this sensitive responsiveness. Intensely attached infants had mothers who responded quickly to their demands and, interacted with their child. Infants who were weakly attached had mothers who failed to interact.

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Many of the babies had several attachments by ten months old, including attachments to mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, and neighbors. The mother was the main attachment figure for about half of the children at 18 months old and the father for most of the others. The most important fact in forming attachments is not who feeds and changes the child but who plays and communicates with him or her.

Therefore, responsiveness appeared to be the key to attachment.


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Psychologists have proposed two main theories that are believed to be important in forming attachments. The basis for the learning of attachments is the provision of food. An infant will initially form an attachment to whoever feeds it. They learn to associate the feeder usually the mother with the comfort of being fed and through the process of classical conditioning , come to find contact with the mother comforting. They also find that certain behaviors e. The evolutionary theory of attachment e. The determinant of attachment is not food, but care and responsiveness.

Bowlby suggested that a child would initially form only one primary attachment monotropy and that the attachment figure acted as a secure base for exploring the world. The attachment relationship acts as a prototype for all future social relationships so disrupting it can have severe consequences. This theory also suggests that there is a critical period for developing an attachment about 0 -5 years.


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If an attachment has not developed during this period, then the child will suffer from irreversible developmental consequences, such as reduced intelligence and increased aggression. Harlow wanted to study the mechanisms by which newborn rhesus monkeys bond with their mothers.

These infants were highly dependent on their mothers for nutrition, protection, comfort, and socialization. What, exactly, though, was the basis of the bond? The behavioral theory of attachment would suggest that an infant would form an attachment with a carer that provides food.

Harry Harlow did a number of studies on attachment in rhesus monkeys during the 's and 's. His experiments took several forms: 1. They had no contact with each other or anybody else. He kept some this way for three months, some for six, some for nine and some for the first year of their lives.

He then put them back with other monkeys to see what effect their failure to form attachment had on behavior. Results: The monkeys engaged in bizarre behavior such as clutching their own bodies and rocking compulsively.

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They were then placed back in the company of other monkeys. To start with the babies were scared of the other monkeys, and then became very aggressive towards them. They were also unable to communicate or socialize with other monkeys. The other monkeys bullied them. They indulged in self-mutilation, tearing hair out, scratching, and biting their own arms and legs.

Harlow concluded that privation i. The extent of the abnormal behavior reflected the length of the isolation. Those kept in isolation for three months were the least affected, but those in isolation for a year never recovered the effects of privation. Pre-attachment occurs during the first six months, when infants learn to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar adults, and become responsive to caregivers.

Between six months and two years, the child develops organized behavioral attachment towards the caregiver in order to achieve emotional security. Toddlers who are securely attached to parents or caregivers will learn to, and be comfortable with, exploration while the caregiver is present, will engage with strangers, and become visibly upset when the caregiver departs. Children who develop ambivalent attachment will not explore become wary of strangers, even in the presence of parents.