What is the learning theory of attachment?
The Learning theory has both strengths and weakness; Firstly the learning theory can give a correct explanation of how attachment is formed. As we do seem to learn in numerous ways through what is known as an association in real life, so this theory is for the learning theory. The case study of Little Albert has shown us that classical conditioning is the process that we learn a variety of behaviors. This is positive as it shows us that the learning theory plays a part in the formation of attachment. For a weakness of this theory, it shows that one of the theorists comes from Harlow’s research, he found when new-born monkeys were taken from their mothers at birth and taken and put into a cage with two wired mums, where one consisted of exposed wire with a feeding bottle attached and other wrapped in soft cloth with no feeding bottle, from the findings the mother spent most time with cloth mother until got hungry. The weakness of Harlow’s theory is that animals can be related to humans, but in theory they cant. From this theory, it was found to be a weakness as it seen to suggest that the cupboard love is most unlikely to explain attachment as monkeys should have attached to mother with the bottle feeding but instead attached to comfort. Looking into Little Albert experiment by the Watson & Rayner’s, it is shown that classical conditioning rules can be applied to make the emotional response of fear. Looking at this study under today’s ethical standards the nature of their study is unethical as it didn’t protect little Albert from psychological harm because the purpose was to induce a form of fear. Albert was used without the mother’s permission. Albert was also withdrawn by his caregiver, which would have caused negative effects to his wellbeing.
John Bowlby theory is connected to the evolutionary theory.