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Lecture 1

PSYC 362 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Harry Harlow, Maternal Bond, John Bowlby


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 362
Professor
Rebecca Cobb
Lecture
1

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PSYC M1 Attachment theory: Normative Development
Why do people form close emotional relationship?
What affects the quality and duration of romantic relationships?
Attachment
- An intimate emotional bond to a particular individual who is seens as providing
protection, comfort, and support
- These bonds emerge in childhood and persist into adulthood
1. Normative
- Deals with normal features of attachment behavioral system and its development
(ideal)
2. Individual differences
- Differences in how the attachment system operates across individuals
John Bowlby (origins of AT)
- Psychiatrist
- Believed family experiences were an important, basic cause of emotional disturbance
- Identified maternal separation/ deprivation as factors in child behavior
problems and personality across lifespan
- Proposed that there was a behavioral system that motivated infants to develop close
bonds to a caregiver, and to exhibit protest behaviors when separated from that
source of comfort and protection
- 1950s thinking: child maternal bond arises from oral gratification
- Influenced by the work of ethologists in the late 50s, eg Karl Lorenz
- “Imprinting” in ducklings: phase-sensitive learning (eg characteristics of
the person)
- how incubator-hatched geese would imprint on the first suitable moving
stimulus they saw within what he called a "critical period" between 13
16 hours shortly after hatching.
- Bond was driven by prosocial/ relational needs
- Rather than the focus being on a bond that develops out of classical
conditioning (bond to the person who feeds you)
- The bond increases proximity to caregiver, someone who provides
comfort, support, protection → infants survive and reach reproductive
maturity
Harry Harlow

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- Studied the rhesus monkeys and examined the factors that created a bond
between mother and infant
- Mother was a source of comfort (NOT food)
- Experiment: wire mother w food VS cloth mother w no food → infants
choose cloth mothers
Attachment bond/ behavior
1. Proximity maintenance: attachment behaviors to increase closeness (affiliation)
2. Safe Haven: in response to threat
3. Secure base: facilitate exploration
- pursuit of non-attachment goals
4. Separation anxiety: threat of separation from AF → anxiety and protest
- An innate behavioral system that increases the likelihood of survival (adaptive
function)
- Natural selection tends to favor behavior that increases inclusive fitness (the
representation of individual’s genes in future generations, the total aggregate
effects on reproduction of self and relatives)
- Attachment behavior composed of instinctual responses to ensure that the babies
needs were met (comfort, soothing etc)
- Sucking, clinging, following, smiling, crying
- Integrated and focused on mother figure in latter half of first year
- Takes time to develop
- Any port in a storm
- Infancy: 9-12 months
- 3-4 pre-attachment (familiarity)
- 6-7 months: begin to show indication of separation anxiety & stranger
anxiety
- Adult: maybe a year, depends on their time spending tgt etc
- Bonds endure across time and contexts
- Unrelated to quality (security)
- May be conscious/ unconscious
- Unconscious bc AT system is always operating as we need to be vigilant to
threat
- Not all relationship interactions are attachment
related
- Other behavioral systems
- Caregiving
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- Sexual
- Infatuation carries until attachment forms
- Last the same length with M & F
- Contribute to long term mating
Attachment strategies
- Cued by threat
- Actions people take to meet their attachment needs
- Our choices to choose which strategy to use are shaped by past experiences and the
internal working models/ schemas
Attachment figure (AF)
- Not every close partner is an attachment figure
- Not substitutable, unique
- Hierarchy
- Primary attachment figure
- Amount contact, security (eg for child, mother)
- Choice → quality, degree, context
- Multiple attachment figures
The caregiving behavioral system
- Flip side of attachment system
- Motivational system: purpose to increase chances of child’s survival
- Child relationship characterized by adult caregiving and child attachment
- Innate organized behavioral system (of parents) designed to provide changing levels
and forms of support for the developing child
- Flexible
- Adapts the level of support and care needed by the infant and provides
what is needed for the protection of the child and no more
- Frees the mother to pursue other goals
- Goal corrected
- The strategies used can be adapted given the context and situation and
the responses of the child
- Snoopy
- Snoopy had a bad dream, indigestion, worried about something, felt separation,
anxiety, need for contact
- Charlie Brown gave him a hug
- Caregiving, not attachment
- One way, non-reciprocal
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