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Why have psychologists stressed the importance of attachment behaviours in development?

Why have psychologists stressed the importance of attachment behaviours in development? Many theorists agree that social contact early in a child's life is important for healthy personality development. This is the most important relationship of the child development period as it is from this that the child drives its confidence in the world. A break from this relationship is experienced as highly distressing and constitutes a considerable trauma (Schaffer 1964). Through frequent social and emotional exchanges with parents the infant not only defines itself, but also acquires a particular style and orientation that some researchers believe is carried over into later life (Sroufe 1978). Therefore, the relationship between an infant and its caregiver and its development is one that has generated much interest to developmental psychologists. John Bowlby (1958, 1968) put forward a comprehensive account of attachment and believed that the infant and mother instinctively trigger each other's behaviour to form an attachment bond. Attachment can therefore be defined as ' the ability to form focused, permanent and emotionally meaningful relationships with specific others' (Butterworth & Harris 1994). In child psychology, attachment is often restricted to a relationship between particular social figures and to a particular phenomenon thought to reflect unique characteristics of the relationship ( Santrock & Bartlett 1986). This essay will attempt to examine the role and importance of attachment behaviours in development. In Bowlby's view, there is a dyadic emotional regulation between the infant and the mother or caregiver. The infant has innate signals to elicit responses from the caregiver. Conversely, infant behaviour such as crying, cooing, smiling etc are elicited by the caregivers specific actions e.g. leaving the room or putting the infant down. Santrock and Bartlett (1986) found that 'the infant's behaviour is directed by t...

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Why have psychologists stressed the importance of attachment behaviours in development?. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 19:06, November 26, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/47542.html