Outline and Evaluate One Theory of Attachment

920 WordsNov 27, 20124 Pages
Outline and evaluate one theory of attachment (12 marks) Bowlby’s theory is an evolutionary theory because, in his view attachment is a behavioural system that has evolved because of its survival value and, ultimately, its reproductive value. According to Bowlby, children have an innate drive to become attached to a caregiver because attachment has long-term benefits. Both attachment and imprinting ensure that a young animal stays close to a caregiver who will feed and protect the young animal. Thus attachment and imprinting are adaptive behaviours. Infants who do not become attached are less likely to survive and reproduce. Attachment ‘genes’ are perpetuated, and infants are born with an innate drive to become attached. Since…show more content…
A similar process is likely to have evolved in many species as a mechanism to protect young animals and enhance the likelihood of their survival. If attachments fail to develop, the conclusion from research appears to be that once the sensitive period has passed it is difficult to form attachments. For example, Hodges and Tizard found that children who had formed no attachments had later difficulties with peers. If attachment did evolve, as Bowlby suggests, to provide an important biological function, then we would expect attachment and care giving behaviours to be universal i.e. found in all cultures. Tronick et al. (1992) studied an African tribe, the Efe, from Zaire, who live in extended family groups. The infants are looked after and even breastfed by different women but usually sleep with their own mother at night. Despite such differences in childrearing practices the infants, at six months, still showed one primary attachment. This supports the view that attachment and caregiving are universal and not influenced by different cultural practices. Many psychologists have criticised Bowlby’s ideas regarding montropy and argued that the babies’ attachment to the first attachment figure is not necessarily special or unique. Schaffer and Emerson’s longitudinal study of 60 Glasgow babies found that multiple attachments seemed to be the norm for babies rather than the exception – at the age of 18 months 87% of
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