-LEARNING THEORY: attachment forms through association. -classical conditioning: over time, the child associates the caregiver with feeling full, due to met needs to attachment then forms. Caregiver is NS, food is UCS/CS and feeling content is the UCR/CR.
-operant conditioning: positive reinforcement is shown through the child being fed or reaction to social releasers, leading to attachment. The baby will smile at the caregiver, which will result in the caregiver smiling back, building a positive attachment. It makes the behaviour more likely from the child if the adult reacts. Negative reinforcement is shown through the baby crying, and then the caregiver responding and feeding the child. The removal of the negative stimulus results in the child's needs being met and feeling content, so attachment is formed.
-Millie is having her needs met and associates her mum with meeting her hunger needs, so attachment forms, as her mum is 'breastfeeding'.
-BOWLBY'S THEORY: attachment forms through 3 key elements. Monotropic attachment: one attachment is better than the other and is stronger, generally with the mother. Social releasers: baby's have a set of 'cute' innate behaviours to obtain a reaction from caregivers. This aids attachment development as relations are formed. Internal working model: as a result from their monotropic attachment, the child will create a template for all other attachment formations based on their monotropic attachment with their caregiver. Critical period- attachments must be formed within the first 2 years of life for them to be formed in later life.
-This is shown by Millie's mums friend saying 'something about a mothers love that makes it special'- referring to monotropic attachment. 'so important for future development.'- refers to internal working model, child uses this attachment as a template for others.
A weakness to the learning theories is that the contradict one another. Learning theory states that attachment is a result of association with needs being met by the caregiver. However, Bowlby's monotropic attachment theory states that attachment is an innate drive and is a natural, primary process. This reduces the credibility of both theories as each is a questionable explanation of attachment as there is no clear establishment as to which one is more accurate, decreasing its credibility as an explanation of attachment.
Learning theory also reductionist. Its findings were developed following research from animal studies, however behavioural psychologists only assume that this is similar, there is no proof. Their findings contrast with Harlow's monkey study, as it suggests that attachment is an innate priority, however Dollard and Miller suggest attachment as a secondary formation, after needs have been met.
Although there is already two conflicting studies, there is a third study explaining the formation of attachment. Hay and Vespo developed social learning theory and believed that attachment is a result of observation and imitation of their environment, so will differ for all. This further convolutes the formation of attachment theories, suggesting that they're all questionable explanations of attachments.