Attachment Theory Essay

Submitted By Weiting2
Words: 2960
Pages: 12

The Infant-mother Attachment and Developmental Influence
A lot of studies done based on attachment theory which focuses on the early relationship between infant and mother. The object of this paper is going to prove the importance of infant-mother relationship for a person’s development. Brief introduction about historical roots of attachment is stated. Two aspects including psychological and biological influences for long-term development were emphasized and elaborated. As a result, the study shows that attachment bond between infant and primary caregiver is a key element for future development. It has a significant impact on the disposition, romantic relationship, and emotional disorder. Moreover, the advantages of secure attachment is been highlighted and called up. Why different people have different personality? Why does trust seems so hard to be hold by certain amount of people? Does the modern world involved too much stress is the only reason account for anxiety disorder? Even though inherited factor plays an important role in determining a person’s disposition, it is necessary to be aware of nurture factor in children’s development. The first year of life is an important and vulnerable time. During this period, infants start to get acquaint with the world and establish the first relationship with their primary caregiver (usually mother). Depending on the level of accessibility and responsiveness the mother provides to infant, everyone will form their own personal “Internal Working Model” (Bowlby 1969). More importantly, this working model which represents the first relationship for a person has a profound influences, such as guiding people to form the interpersonal relationship when they grow up and also even possible to change the gene function in brain. Therefore, the infant-mother attachment is crucial for a person because it influences the subsequent developments in psychological and biological ways.
Historical Roots about Attachment Theory The cognitive process of infant-mother interaction had been through a long history. Prior to 1900s, a common belief held by most people is that food is the primary factor in determining the affective relationship between infant and mother. At that time, few main viewpoints was been claimed and people haven’t find any attachment relationship correlated to infant’s development. According to Arnold Gesell, eugenics is regarded as the only factor for a superior person at that time, and genetics are in total control of how children turned out no matter what kind of environment they were raised in (Weizmann 2010). Comparing with eugenics perspective, there is an opposite view which asserts that children’s mind is like a “blank slate” (Gianoutsos) and could be completely shaped by external factors. However, these two points of view were both unilateral. Infant-mother attachment didn’t emerge until the psychoanalysts started to pay attention to the affection interaction between infant and mother and do a lot of studies in this area. The attachment theory was first established by John Bowlby who was influenced by the wok done by Harry Harlow. In order to figure out the affection bond between infant and mother, Harlow established a famous experiment in the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He used rhesus monkey in experiments because they have high similarity of human infants. In the experiment, he let rhesus monkey made choice between two different “mothers.” One was made of soft terrycloth, but provided no food. The other was made of wire, but provided food from an attached baby bottle. Harlow removed young monkeys from their natural mothers a few hours after birth and left them to be "raised" by these mother surrogates. The experiment demonstrated that the baby monkeys spent significantly more time with their cloth mother than with their wire mother. According to Harlow, "These data make it obvious that contact comfort is a variable of overwhelming