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    • Thread Starter

    Hi All,

    Please could someone read my answer to this question and tell me if its ok? I'm studying 3 A Levels all via distance learning and I'm finding it really challenging and lonely! Thankyou

    3. Compare the learning theory and Bowlby’s monotrophic theory as explanations of attachment. (4 marks)
    Learning theory believes that all behaviours are gained through life experiences and from association with particular stimuli or responses. The two types of learning theories are classical and operant conditioning.
    Classical conditioning is where a response associated with a particular stimulus becomes associated with another stimulus not normally thought of alongside that response. Perhaps the most famous research into this area was Pavlov (1902) when he stumbled accidentally upon it. Pavlov was researching how dogs salivate when anticipating food but found instead they were salivating whenever his lab assistant (who had been feeding them) entered the room. This led him to realise he had made an important scientific discovery. The lab assistant was a neutral stimulus, in that they should produce no response, the dogs however associated this stimulus with food and therefore produced a conditioned response. Pavlov the tested this by ringing a bell each time he fed the dogs. He then rang the bell without producing the food and found the dogs were salivating. In this scenario, the bell was the neutral stimulus (NS) before conditioning. After conditioning, so after Pavlov had rang the bell at feeding time numerous times, the bell became the conditioned stimulus, with salivating becoming the conditioned response.
    This type of association can easily be linked to infants and the formation of attachments. If a child is given food, this food produces pleasure for the child and dissipates the negative feeling of hunger. The food generally comes from the caregiver and so the child starts to associate the caregiver with food and following this learned behaviour, or ‘conditioning’ the child automatically associates the caregiver with pleasure, meaning an attachment is formed. As an attachment is classified as an emotional bond between two people, there are more aspects involved than just the delivery of food. Comfort and sensitivity to an infants needs are also important so things such as a mother cudding her infant when they were crying would also reinforce this attachment.
    Operant conditioning is more straight forward in that it is simply learning by consequence. An action with a positive reinforcement, such as a reward for completing homework, will be repeated and vice versa, negative reinforcement would stop certain behaviour, such as detention for being late. The term operant conditioning was coined by BF Skinner (1938) and was described by him as changing behaviour by the use of reinforcement. Using the feeding example again, a caregiver provides a feeling of pleasure to an infant by providing them with food and taking away their hunger. The provide comfort to a crying child in order to stop them crying and so each time either of these is repeated, the infant is comforted.
    Bowlby’s monotropic theory is an evolutionary explanation in which an infant forms a main and strong attachment to one person, usually the biological mother. There could be other attachments but these would be secondary, forming a hierarchy with the mother (or other primary attachment figure) being at the top and more minor attachments below. Bowlby believed that attachments during the stone ages were survival based, as those infants staying close to a caregiver had a better chance of avoiding predators and thus surviving. He believes that certain behaviours or ‘social releasers’ are innate behaviours in infants to elicit caregiving, an example being crying. A caregiver would be uncomfortable on hearing the crying, and innately driven to comfort them, increasing the survival chances of that child and thus the continuation of their own genes, supporting the evolutionary side to the monotropic theory.
    Bowlby believed there was a critical period in which these attachments need to form, usually between 3 and 6 months and he believed the behaviours would be mostly useless if delayed until after 12 months. There is also a belief that early attachments can impact on future relationships, known as the continuity hypothesis. The strongest attachment the infant forms sets them up with expectations of all relationships and this becomes their internal working model.

    First of all, that is a very long essay for just 4 marks.-straight up, I saw this essay and I was like... nope, I ain't got time to read all of that-no offence
    In order to save time in an exam, you should really not be writing more than necessary. You are writing way more than what is being asked of you-maybe it will help if you learn the meaning of all the command words for your psychology exam.
    What exam board do you take?-for AQA psychology we don't get 'compare' command words though.
    I do AQA AS Psychology and for 4 marks I will suggest you use evaluative points-so do 2 evaluative points for learning theory and 2 evaluative points for Bowlby's monotropic theory.
    Give one advantage and one disadvantage of each theory and then a final conclusion.
    Good Luck!
    • Thread Starter


    Many thanks for your reply, I know its wayyyy too long I think I got a bit carried away! Plus I thought itd be good to use as revision in the future. You're right though, I'm just gonna send in two answers to it, my very longwinded one and your sensible condensed one!

    Its AQA the exam board, I'm studying through ICS, I think its 7182, which are you studying?

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