Attachment Theory Essay

685 words - 3 pages

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is a concept in developmental psychology and was defined by Schaffer (1993) as ‘A close emotional relationship between two persons characterised by mutual affection and a desire to maintain proximity’. Also, Maccoby (1980) describes the four characters of attachment:

1. Seeking proximity - the desire to be close to the person to whom you are attached.
2. Separation anxiety - the distress that results from being separated from that person.
3. Pleasure when reunited - relief and observable joy when reunited with them.
4. General orientation of behaviour towards the caregiver - the child’s awareness of where the person is, and the ...view middle of the document...

 The evidence suggested that warmth and comfort rather than food were more important in nurturing an attachment and provided scientific evidence against the behaviourist (and psychodynamic) cupboard love theories. Clearly, because Harlow used monkeys it is difficult to generalise the findings and conclusions to humans.  However, the Glasgow babies study also suggested that babies didn’t always form attachments with the food provider. There are also serious ethical issues with this study.  The young of an intelligent species are reared in isolation and not allowed to form attachments with their own species.  The monkeys grew up unable to socialise with other members of their species and were bullied as a result. 

Mary Ainsworth
Mary Ainsworth is best known for her elaboration on the work of John Bowlby and attachment Theory. Mary Ainsworth devised the strange situation method to measure the type of attachment that a child has formed. The experiment is set up in a small room with one way glass so the behaviour of the child can be observed. The methods preformed as follows:
1) Parent (or...

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