Theories Of Attachment – John Bowlby 1969

Published January 24, 2014 by aimeelou96

There are many different theories of attachment. John Bowlby (1969) suggested that our ability to form an attachment is innate. He believes that babies come into the world with the ability to make others care for them, through crying and smiling. And that mothers have an innate ability to care and protect her child until they mature and are able to reproduce. The innate nature of attachment was illustrated by Conrad Lorenz in 1952 in his imprinting study with geese. Lorenz conducted a study with goose eggs, he hatched one set of eggs in an incubator with himself, ensuring he was the first moving object that they seen when they hatched. The other set was hatched with their mother. After the geese had hatched, lorenz noticed that those he hatched with him would follow him around as if he was their mother. He later mixed the two sets of geese together in a box and set them free, the geese split into their original groups and made their way to who they believed was their mother. Lorenz called this imprinting. following their mother gave them a higher chance of survival as they were always close to their attachment figure.

Bowlby then suggested that a childs early attachments can effect the type of attachments that they will form with others in the future, he called this ‘Continuity Hypothesis’. It is also suggested that children go through a critical period in their life in which they should  form an attachment by. This critical period is said to be between the ages or 0-2.5years old, between these ages children should have developed certain behaviours, and form an attachment. If an attachment is not made by this time, then it is highly unlikely to occur at all. 

Monotropy – John Bowlby also said that children will all form a single attachment that will be more important to them than the rest. This is usually the mother, according to Bowlby, the father is of rare importance to the childs attachments.



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