Outline and Evaluate the Learning Theory as an Example of Attachment.

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Humoon
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The learning theory, firstly proposed by Dolland Miller (1950) argues that attachment is a form of nurture and so is learnt. Behaviourists came up with the idea that it is learnt either through classical or operant conditioning. The learning theory was introduced by behaviourists who base most of their explanation on the effects of nurturing. They proposed that all behaviour is learned rather than inborn and In terms of attachment, through either classical or operant conditioning. Psychologists have based their explanation of attachment on Pavlov’s experiments into classical conditioning. They argue that for infants the sensation of hunger and the need for food is an unconditioned stimulus and producing a sense of pleasure happens when the baby receives food. The baby then has an unconditioned response to receiving food. The person who produces the food becomes associated with the pleasure the baby feels. If that is repeated enough the baby then reacts in a similar way to the mother as it does to food, even in the absence of food. The baby then learns to become attached to the mother.
Operant conditioning states that, any behaviour that produces a positive reinforcement such as food will be repeated. Behaviours that switch off something unpleasant are also likely to be repeated (negative reinforcement).
This can be applied to attachment in the sense that a new-born baby will cry in response to feelings of discomfort, which come from being hungry or cold. The sound of a baby crying is uncomfortable to the caregiver who will attempt to console the child by feeding and cuddling them. These behaviours are rewarding for the baby who is likely to settle down and stop crying. This acts as a positive reinforcement for the parent and they are more likely to repeat the feeding/cuddling when the baby cries next time. As the crying has produced a positive reinforcement, the…...

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