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At 7 months ‘Special preference for a single attachment figure’ begins to occur, which is where the baby seeks for particular people.At this stage the baby shows unhappiness when separated from a carer.Imprinting must occur within a certain time called a critical period or it will not happen at all. Harlow concluded that monkeys need physical contact with a living caring mother to develop normal social skills.
However, the research evidence to support this is rather weak.
In Bowlby’s theory of attachment in humans there are two hypotheses.
Attachment Theory John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst and has developed his knowledge and understanding into the theory of Attachment.
Bowlby believed that children have been born programmed to form attachments which will help them survive; this is known as evolutionary attachments.
Another explanation of attachment is evolutionary, which looks towards survival benefit of having a strong bond between caregiver and infant.
It suggests that there are instinctual or natural attitudes and behaviours which are hard-wired into both the caregiver and infant.
Shaffer and Emmerson have also expanded on Bowlby’s theory breaking down the theory into stages.
The stages are ‘Indiscriminate attachment, preference for certain people, special preference for a single attachment figure, multiple attachments.
The stage of ‘Multiple attachments’ the baby is able to form multiple attachments with people.
These stages where identified from a study carried out on 60 babies during the first 18 months of their lives.