John Bowlby's Monotropic Attachment Theory

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Everyone forms attachments. Starting with parents, to friends and even animals. It is the emotional bond between two people, usually between the caregiver and infant. A process that takes time, which leads to specific behavioural activities like clinging and proximity-seeking.
According to John Bowlby, a British researcher, all these attachments made throughout life can be traced back to the right kind of maternal presence had during the first three years of life, also known as the critical period. Bowlby explains that the relationship with mothers play a crucial role in the behavioural development of a child and can determine the ability to make healthy relationships in the future. With his Monotropic Attachment Theory he explains that attachment
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Mary Ainsworth, an American-Canadian developmental psychologist that studied the theories of attachment, tried to recreate a similar situation by moving it into an observation room. This experiment is called the “Strange Situation”. Infant children are being put in a stressful, unfamiliar setting and are being studied. By observing these reactions, the class of a child’s attachment is shown, which are classified into different categories: secure, avoidant and ambivalent. A child with a secure attachment is put into an attractive but unfamiliar setting. The child is surrounded by toys, its mother, and a stranger. While the child is distracted the mother leaves it alone with a stranger. Under these circumstances will the child’s secure attachment be assessed. The child’s reaction when the mother leaves and she comes back, which is called the reunion, is observed. The child starts crying as soon as the mother leaves. Even though the stranger tries to comfort the child, it doesn’t stop until the mother returns. The same reaction can be noticed with the second time the mother leaves and returns. This shows typical signs of a securely attached child. It can explore freely with the presence of the caregiver as well as with the stranger, but as soon as she…show more content…
The harm brought to these animals is clear but can be justified by the delivered knowledge of the development of attachment. The results found are impossible though to generalize to human beings, despite having similarities to the monkeys it is still quite different. The monkeys of the experiment, however, have later shown significant difficulties to interact with other monkeys, which can be seen as unethical. In addition, the fact that they were in isolation and not in their natural environment makes the experiment less valid, and so less reliable. Nowadays these kind of experiments would be much more difficult, since they are restricted by ethical

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