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Bowlby and the evolutionary approach to attachment

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Andy Flanagan

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of Bowlby and the evolutionary approach to attachment

"John Bowlby
& the evolutionary approach
to attachment Background Info John Bowlby Innate Programming Innate Programming... John Bowlby was born
February 24, 1907
In London Bowlby says attachment is inherited to improve survival. Therefore this innate behaviour is passed on to generations which will continually.

Bowlby – Infants are born ‘programmed’ to become attached and parents are ‘programmed’ also to attach. John Bowlby The attachment to ONE person is called MONOTROPY

The approach assumes that to form an attachment is an innate tendency, that increases chance of survival Social releasers are important to make sure interaction takes place. This is behaviour that promotes care giving attention
Smiling, crying, cooing and simply looking appealing.
Social releasers are innate and are a critical part of forming attachments. A Critical Period A Critical Period... (Embryo arms – day24 – 25 – any interference and they don’t develop)

So if attachment is innate (biological) then you would expect there to be a C.P for this too.

He suggested if you don’t form an attachment before 2.5 years, then it would not be possible after *Raised in a family of six children
*primarily raised by a nanny (attached to her)
*Little interaction with mother *Nanny left household when he was 4 yrs old, sent to boarding school at 7 later talked that this experience was damaging to his development Evaluation... Is attachment innate? There is no evidence at the present time to indicate that there are genes for attachment. However, these may be discovered as technology advances. Evaluation... Minnesota longitudinal study by Sroufe et al (1999) there.

Followed children from the age of 2 to adolescence.

The children were rated by their teachers, trained observers etc

The children rated as securely attached were later rated as being the most popular, higher self esteem and self confidence The role of the father – Bowlby saw the role of the father as supporting the mother who was central to the attachment process. However, research by Lamb (1977) has indicated that as an infant grows older (15-24) months they show a preference towards their father. Evaluation... Multiple attachments – do infants have an attachment to a single attachment figure?

Evidence to support the view that individuals form multiple attachments is illustrated by the study by Shaffer and Emerson.... the child may benefit more socially, emotionally and cognitively by forming multiple attachments. (against Monotropy) Four categories of behaviors Hazan and Shaver (1987) – printed a ‘love quiz’ in an American newspaper. They collected information about individuals early attachment experiences and their current romantic attitudes and experiences. They found that securely attached infants had happy and long lasting relationships in later life. Insecurely attached infants found that relationships were hard to form and many were divorced. (support C.H) Evaluation... You will be given an exam question that either describes OR evaluates the evolutionary theory to attachment.

Work in pairs, using your notes, to complete this question.

If you have the 'describe...' question then it is looking for you to make two detailed points for each of the main features of the theory. Remember this is AO1 and there are 6 marks!

If you have the 'evaluate...' question then it is looking for you to provide 3 detailed strengths or weaknesses of the theory. This will ideally be a balanced answer. Remember this is AO2 and there are 6 marks! Exam Question... In pairs, label yourselves either A or B.

You will be given a handout. On it there is an answer and a question.

One pair in the room has the correct answer to another groups question. The aim is to answer this question as fast as you can. Hopefully this will create a loop where everyone has answered! Word Loop... You should all have got the idea of it now.

We are going to do it again but this time against the clock. Remember it is just person B who can shout the answer out but your partner can help. Next is the turn of person B Socioemotional and cognitive!! Areas of Focus Freud: Attachment is only to satisfy hunger. No real emotional connection. Attachment Theory vs. Others Erickson:
Started to emphasis the importance of the infant being able to trust that their needs will be met to actually form attachment Melanie Klein:
Klein held that children’s emotional problems are almost entirely due to fantasies generated from internal conflict between aggressive and libidinal drives, rather than to events in the external world Attachment vs. Others Continued L/O:

1. Outline John Bowlby's theory
of attachment

2. Evaluate John Bowlby's theory
of attachment

3. Answer and peer assess an exam style question on attachment

4. Participate in 'Word Loop' and
'Thinking Hats' exercises John Bowlby says attachment is important for survival. Infants are helpless and need comfort, protection and food. There are three main features of Bowlby’s Theory:
1. Infants and carers have an ‘innate programming’ to become attached.
2. Critical period – This is the time in which the biological process of attachment takes place.

3.The Continuity Hypothesis – Attachment plays a major role in later development. Thinking Hats In groups of 3-4 people, decide what thinking hat to put on and write your answer on the post it note. One fact about Bowlby's Theory of Attachment (AO1) One Strength of Bowlby's Theory of Attachment (AO2) One weakness of Bowlby's Theory of Attachment (AO2) Why is this theory important? This is biological. If an attachment does not take place during a set developmental period – then it may not take place at all. Beth Thomas... Otherwise known as 'Child of Rage' The Continuity Hypothesis The idea behind the C.H is that the relationship with ‘one special figure’ (monotropy) provides the infant with an internal working model (IWM)of relationships.

Secure children develop positive working models of themselves = feel secure as they have one supportive, sensitive primary care giver (caregiver sensitivity hypothesis.

In contrast insecure children have a P.C.G who is rejecting so the child has an IWM of unacceptable and unworthy.

So Overall C.H explains early attachment is linked to later child characteristics. Task

Using the handout, sort the statements into strengths or weaknesses of Bowlby's theory of attachment. What is an attachment? Homework for 12th November:

Discuss the learning theory of attachment (6 & 6)

Describe and evaluate the evolutionary theory of attachment (6 & 6)

Remember there is revision on after school tonight if you want to come along. Hazan and Shaver (1987)
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