Bowlby : The Father Of Attachment Theory

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Bowlby is considered to be the Father of Attachment Theory. He believed infants have a biological predisposition to form attachments with others because they depend on others to fulfill their needs for survival. He also believed attachment instinct could be activated by various threats, such as fear and separatism. This instinct is activated because primary caregivers allow infants to develop a sense of security and secure base for the infants to explore the world. The attachment theory developed when Bowlby sought better understanding of attachment through other fields such as evolutionary biology, ethology, developmental psychology, and cognitive science.
Bowlby was very influenced by ethological theory, specifically Lorenz’s 1935 study
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Bowlby’s system of behavior control operates metaphorically like a thermostat where it sets in motion or shuts down the activation of attachment behaviors when certain conditions are met. The system asks the underlying question, “Is the attachment figure nearby and attentive?” If the answer is yes, then the infant feels secured and behaviorally, will likely explore their environment and be sociable with others. On the other hand, if the answer is no, the child will experience anxiety and will display behaviors such as visual searching and active following. These behaviors will continue until the child reestablishes a desirable level of physical or psychological proximity to the caregiver. Another way the behavior will end is if the infant becomes worn down due to prolonged separation.
Overall, there are three main features of Bowlby’s theory. These consist of infants and caregivers having an innate programming to become attached, a critical period, which is the time that in which the biological process of attachment takes place, and the continuity hypothesis, which basically states that attachment plays a role in later development. Bowlby says that attachment is inherited to improve survival and that infants are born “programmed” to become attached and parents are “programmed” also to attach. In order for this interaction to take place, social releasers have to be
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