Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 25, 2010

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For infants and toddlers, the "set-goal" of the attachment behavioural system is to maintain or achieve proximity to attachment figures, usually the parents

Attachment theory is a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory concerning relationships between humans. The most important tenet of attachment theory is that a young child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. The theory was formulated by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. Within attachment theory, infant behaviour associated with attachment is primarily the seeking of proximity to an attachment figure in stressful situations. Attachment figures arise as infants become attached to adults, usually but not necessarily parents, who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some months during the period from about six months to two years of age. During the latter part of this period, children begin to use attachment figures (familiar people) as a secure base to explore from and return to. Parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment; these, in turn, lead to internal working models which will guide the individual's feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships. Separation anxiety or grief following the loss of an attachment figure is considered to be a normal and adaptive response for an attached infant. These behaviours may have evolved because they increase the probability of survival of the child. (more...)

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