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What research has been done on attachment types in other primates?

What research has been done on attachment types in other primates?


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The most canonical experimental paradigm for studying human attachment styles is the Strange Situation leading to classifications such as Secure, Insecure-avoidant, and so on.

What are the equivalent methodologies, classifications, findings and longtitudinal variability in studies of other primates?

I should add that I'm vaguely aware of, say, Harlow's work, but as far as I understand it, it seems to be about the existence of, rather than the variability of, attachment behaviour in animals.


Jaak Panksepp, in Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions, describes seven brain systems, "raw feels", that are shared among human and non-human primates. One of these systems is PANIC (he capitalizes the systems' name to differentiate them from the similar terms used in speaking about emotions). He says, "a separation distress PANIC system is important in the elaboration of social-emotional processes related to attachment".


Example Answers for Attachment: A Level Psychology, Paper 1, June 2019 (AQA)

Here are some example answers to the written Paper 1 questions on Attachment in the 2019 AQA exams.

Findings from research into the role of the fathers has centred on discovering the father’s role both in terms of if they are a primary or secondary attachment figure, and if they have a distinct role separate to mothers. Shaffer and Emerson’s research concluded that in only 3% of cases fathers were the primary attachment figure in comparison to 85% of mothers, however 27% of the time they shared the primary attachment figure status with the mother. In addition they found that by the age of one children most children had formed secondary attachments to other family members such as the father. Showing that the mother is more likely to be a primary attachment figure than the father but fathers will become attached to. Field also found that the interaction of fathers who were primary caretakers were different to that of secondary caretakers. Fathers who were secondary caretakers played more and held their infants less but when they were the primary caretaker they took on a role more similar to traditional mother behaviour – smiling more, making more engaging in more reciprocity in terms of facial expressions and vocalisations. This suggests the difference in the role of fathers is less to do with them being fathers per se and more to do with whether they take a primary attachment role within the family.

Research into the role of fathers has far reaching implications for the economy due to its impact on employments laws and policy. Showing the relative importance of fathers and their ability to play an equal role of caregiver sensitivity and therefore welfare of children could impact the paternity laws. This research has already influenced a shift towards shared parental leave and increased paternity leave for new fathers. This has implications for the employers in terms of paying for productivity which they are not seeing. In addition parental leave is partially funded by both the employer and the government which has implications for funding if both partners seek to take leave. The shared parental leave however is a double edged sword, whilst it may reduce males in the workforce as they seek to take more leave when they have children, this would allow mothers to take less leave and therefore return to work, allowing them to resume contribution to the employer. Or is some cases parents may choose to divide the leave so each works part time, which may mean less cover issues in some workforces. Consequently the impact is likely to be one which levels the gender pay gap as parents seek more equality in the workplace and childcare – taking equal advantage of the roles played by mothers and fathers or taking joint primary attachment status.

Bowlby’s internal working model suggests that the first attachment (usually to the mother) would become a blueprint for future relationships. It gives the infants a view of themselves as lovable or otherwise, a model of other people as basically trustworthy or not to be relied upon, and a model of the relationship between the two which allow them to predict how others will act in relationships and allows them to control their environment. According to Bowlby this follows us through childhood and into later adulthood. Research has suggested that Hazan and Shaver aimed to investigate the accuracy of the continuity hypothesis by devising a love quiz questionnaire. They found that roughly 60% of their population surveyed were securely attached supporting the original Ainsworth finding, additionally the distribution of insecure resistant and insecure avoidant styles were in line with previous findings. This suggests that there is a level of continuity from childhood to adult hood. They also found that this correlated to the reports of the parenting they had received with securely attached adults reporting they had loving and responsive parents which would support that this later adult attachment style is a result of the earlier one. Finally they found the adult attachment style influenced reports on participants own self-perception and perceptions of their romantic partners. With securely attached people more likely to believe in lasting love, findings others trustworthy, and having confidence in themselves as likeable. Whereas insecure avoidant are a bit more doubtful about whether this kind of love exists. They also think that you don’t need a love partner in order to be happy. The insecure resistant however express more self-doubt and insecurity in their relationships.

An issue with Hazan and Shaver’s research is that it aims to test the continuity hypothesis and the influence of childhood on later adult relationships, however it does not track individuals from their childhood. Instead it relies on retrospective accounts of the parenting they received and includes forced choice descriptions in order to judge this parenting style. This may compromise the validity of the judgements made and therefore the findings that our childhoods are so influential. However, research conducted by Simpson aimed to address this by conducting longitudinal research on a small sample of individuals tracked over 25 years which supported the consistency of attachment style from childhood to adulthood and the influence it has on later adult relationships. Meta-analyses have further supported these correlations.

However a large criticism of how influential childhood really is comes from the determinism debate. Bowlby’s original assertions are incredibly deterministic as the internal working model is set within the critical period and will go on to influence later childhood relationships with friends and later adult friendships and romantic relationships. This suggests that the outcome of these relationships is fixed from a very early point and there is no ability to change them. This minimises the possible impact of a range of factors in someone’s intervening years and may oversimplify the issue. For example Zimmerman found that childhood attachment did not predict later adult relationships, instead it was major life events in childhood such as the death of a parent or divorce which shows a more movable state for attachment. In addition Feeny et al discovered that individuals changed attachment style between partners, suggesting that having a securely attached childhood did not exclude the possibility of later insecure relationships, which in turn did not exclude the possibility of a secure one later on. This was based on the individual interactions, lending more criticism to the deterministic and fixed nature of the internal working model.


Attachment and Parenting Styles Influences on Adult Relationships

Humans are social beings and need to be with others and form relationships but our relationship behaviors do not "come naturally" and they need to be learned similar to other social skills (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005, p.77). Many psychologists argue that the kind of relationships infants have with their primary caregivers is the blueprint for the later life relationships (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). Behaviors in adult relationships' are influenced by the kinds of relationships and attachments they have experienced in their early years with their primary caregivers. This is the basic perspective of the theory of attachment styles that claims that the kind of bonds we form early in life influence the kinds of relationships we form as adults (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011). After observing interactions of infants with their mothers the developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues (1978) identified three patterns of attachments that include the secure attachment style, anxious/ambivalent attachment style and avoidance attachment style (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). Depending on the specific attachment style one was exposed to and learned as an infant will demonstrate specific adult attachment styles which involve the secure, preoccupied, fearful and dismissing adult attachment styles (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005, p.85). Therefore one can see that the interactions we first have with our primary caregivers could shape our relationships as adults. Additionally no one can doubt that children are first shaped inside their families and no one can underestimate the importance of the parents' role on a child's development and how it can affect their future development. This brings to mind the theory of parenting styles I learned in a previous psychology class. Diana Baumrind developed a theory of four distinct parenting styles which reflect the two dimensions of parenting which are responsiveness and demandingness (Arnett, 2010). Responsiveness reflects the degree to which parents are supportive and sensitive to the child's needs and reflects the amount of love, warmth and affection expressed to their children (Arnett, 2010). Demandingness reflects the degree to which parents are demanding, have rules and high expectations for their children and it reflects the amount of controlling and monitoring parents have towards their children (Arnett, 2010). Based on these two dimensions the four types of parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful or disengaged. Parenting style has been found to greatly influence and affect adolescent development and also could probably affect the relationships with others in a similar fashion that attachment style may.

As stated above early attachment is influential on one's life and children's attachment styles develop from a combination of biological influences and social learning (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). The primary caregiver's behavior and interaction towards an infant could affect and shape their expectations and interactions with others throughout their lives. Regarding Ainsworth's attachment styles infants with secure attachment styles show trust to their caregivers, do not worry when being abandoned and view themselves as worthy and well liked (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011). They use their primary caregiver as a "secure base from which to explore" when all is well and use them for consolidation when frightened (Arnett, 2010, p.189). Infants with anxious/ambivalent attachment styles are insecure and anxious because they are not able to predict their caregiver's behavior since their caregivers demonstrate inconsistent behavior and affection (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011). Infants with avoidance attachment styles demonstrate suppressive feelings towards their caregiver and are discouraged from creating an intimate relationship with them as due to their distanced behavior have caused them to worry about rejection (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011).

Depending of the attachment style that infants and young children have been exposed to they develop specific patterns of relationships that affect their responses to their adult relationships. For instance a child that had a secure attachment with their caregivers would be able to develop lasting relationships as adults. Contrary a child who had an avoidant attachment with their caregivers would have difficulty creating long lasting relationships and would have difficulty to trust others. Research has been able to confirm that our adult relationships are shaped by our early patterns of attachment and with the ways of dealing with closeness, separation and love (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). Furthermore Bartholomew (1990) identified four styles of adult attachment that are derived from the two dimensions that have to do with our self image and image of others (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005 Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991). For the dimension of self image and image of others there are two levels which are the positive and negative and the combination of them composing the four patterns of adult attachment styles. Additionally this model, as indicated in the figure, includes the dimensions of dependency on the horizontal axis and avoidance on the vertical axis and both vary from low to high (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991 Ma, 2006). For instance the secure adult attachment style based on this model is characterized by positive self image with low dependency and by a positive image of others with low avoidance. Therefore one who has secure attachments will be comfortable with intimacy and autonomy (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991).

From personal experience and from people I know I believe that attachment theory, and the above mentioned model, could accurately be applied to explain relationship patterns. Personally as a child I developed a secure attachment with my parents as they were responsive to my needs and caring, they were there when I needed them and they provided me with reassurance to explore my environment. As an adult I have been able to develop lasting relationships and I am comfortable with closeness, trusting others, and interdependence. When considering others from my close environment I also can relate their relationship patterns with the attachment theory and this appears helpful to better understand them. For instance a close friend of mine and previous colleague seems she has developed a preoccupied attachment style and this could explain her pattern of relationships thus far in her life. She has an anxious/ambivalent attachment style with her parents as a result of their job obligations, and their personalities were inconsistent regarding their affection towards her. As an adult she developed a preoccupied attachment style and she exhibits this attachment style towards both her friendships and intimate relationships. Particularly when it comes to her intimate relationships this type of attachment style is possibly responsible for her two divorces within a five year time frame and her being less satisfied with her romantic relationships. Whenever she entered into a romantic relationship she acted obsessive and was very preoccupied with her relationship. Most of her relationships were short-lived and even when she ended up getting married her first marriage lasted only one year and her second just a little longer. The main reason for this, based on what I learned from the attachment theory, seems to be the fact that she entered her relationships quite fast without first really knowing her partner and by being obsessive, anxious, jealous over her relationship it probably discouraged her intimate others and scared them away. Fortunately people are able to change and as one learns one's attachment style they could possibly unlearn it over time (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005). However in order to do so one needs to become aware of their relationship pattern and then decide what actually needs to be accomplished in order succeed this (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).

As people are exposed to different attachment styles from very young ages they also are exposed to different parenting styles, and as already mentioned Dania Baumrind developed a theory of four distinctive parenting styles. One of them is the authoritarian parenting style characterized by parents who are high in demandingness and low in responsiveness (Arnett, 2010). Authoritarian parents are strict and have high expectations from their children, have set rules and expect obedience without questioning and without really explaining their reasoning to their children (Berger, 2005). They are obedience and status oriented and expecting their orders to be obeyed without explanation (Darling, 2011). A child that grows up in a family environment where they do not have the opportunity to communicate, and constantly feel they have to act in a certain way, will have serious problems in many aspects of their development. They will grow up with low self-esteem, might be depressed, anxious and frustrated and they lag behind in social skills and social adaptability (Berger, 2005 Arnett, 2010). Another parenting style is the authoritative style characterized by high demandingness and high responsiveness (Arnett, 2010). Contrary to the previous style parents set rules and expectations but are open to discussion and negotiation as the parents are willing to listen to their children and guide them when questions arise (Arnett, 2010). Authoritative parents always maintain the power to say "no" but also they want their children to be assertive, socially responsible, self-regulated and cooperative (Darling, 2011). A child who grows up in a family where the parents utilize this style are more likely to grow up independent, have self-control, have more developed social skills, able to communicate and make friendships, have healthy relationships and emotional attachments (Arnett, 2010). From growing in a balanced environment they are less likely to have psychological problems and they become balance adults by themselves.

The next two parenting styles are the permissive and the neglectful, or disengage style. Permissive parents are not demanding, they hardly ever punish their children and do not have a lot of control of their children as they usually let them do whatever they want (Arnett, 2010). They seem to want to be more like their children's friends instead of their parents. Children growing up in a permissive family will be more likely to have higher self esteem, but they will have poor emotional regulation, are immature and irresponsible (Arnett, 2010). They may show some developed social skills but actually do not posses them as they have been used to always getting what they want. The inadequate emotional regulation appears to be a problem for friendship formation (Berger, 2005). The disengaged or neglectful parenting style is characterized by parents who do not care about their children. These parents are low in both demandingness and responsiveness and they may seem little emotionally attached with their children (Arnett, 2010). Children growing up with this parenting style are exposed to an indifferent environment, without any guidance or support and are most likely to be depressed, impulsive and have poor social skills (Arnett, 2010). In general this type of parenting is associated with negative outcomes in a child's development in all domains of their life.

These descriptions of the various parenting styles are fairly general and brief. There are also parents between styles or one parent may be of one style and the other of another style. However one can see that each child's development is affected by the parenting style of their parents and this could also affect their relationships with others as well. The parenting style a parent follows is influenced by various reasons such as personality type, psychological states, a child's behavior, education, socioeconomic status and much more (Arnett, 2010). Comparing the different attachment styles discussed previously with the different parenting styles I believe that it is possible for both to affect people's patterns of relationships as both could shape the development of a child. Considering the importance and significance of situational and social influences one can see that the initial social context of children is their families and their family environment is able to shape their development and influence the development of their personal and social relationships.


Conclusion

Psychobiological theory may be an important complement to theories such as attachment theory to not only explain the consequences of the complex experiences surrounding disruptions of attachment, but also to identify mechanisms through which developmental change can be effected. The relationship between children and foster parents may contain the 'hidden regulators' that Hofer [6] proposed as typical for regular attachment relationships, as shown by the parasympathetic nervous system responses to separations and reunions [24] and by the effects of interventions aimed towards improving the interaction between children and foster parents or therapeutic workers [37,38,51] on physiological indices of affect regulation. Relationships between children with disrupted attachment and their caregivers are therefore an important focus for research on their developmental pathways, as well as a focus for support and intervention in order to promote more adaptive developmental outcomes.

For some children, however, the regulating function of their relationships with caregivers appears compromised. Within Porges' theory, this would be the case when situations that would be safe enough for social engagement to be activated, elicit responses that facilitate mobilization of resources for fight or flight [7,17]. In his theory, processes on a subcortical level (e.g., the limbic system) operate without cognitive awareness in order to distinguish between situations that are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. Mechanisms that facilitate recognition of visual and auditory patterns are probably involved in this so called neuroception of safety and danger [17]. Little is known about the kinds of experiences that may lead to aberrant neuroception. Neuroception of danger would predispose to reactivity of the sympathetic part of the ANS, called the mobilization system in polyvagal theory, and would weaken parasympathetic reactivity or vagal tone. The link found between sympathetic ANS reactivity and a history of neglect suggests one avenue for further research. Another relevant finding was the low parasympathetic reactivity during reunion with foster parents by children showing symptoms of disinhibited disordered attachment [24]. Clinically, children with disorders of attachment appear to have pervasive disturbances in social relatedness and in particular using familiar caregivers as a source of comfort and safety [40], and these disturbances appear to be persistent [4]. Distortions in neuroception of safety and danger may be one explanation for this persistence, and therefore a potential target for intervention. Links between disorganized attachment relationships and sympathetic reactivity on reunion with the caregiver would in Porges' framework be highly consistent with the interpretation by attachment theorists that disorganized attachment patterns are the result of the opposing tendencies engendered by the fear system (fight or flight) and the attachment system (seek contact) [55]. These direct links have, however, not been found in the one study that examined this. An further important test of Porges' theory as well as the theories regarding disorganized attachment would therefore be to investigate the extent to which sympathetic ANS reactivity on reunion with caregivers mediates the link between frightening experiences with these caregivers and disorganized attachment behaviour. Furthermore, Porges' propositions that neuroception is based on systems for feature and movement detection, localized within the temporal cortex [17] require the extension of psychophysiological measures with imaging techniques [13].

Psychobiological perspective and research findings may also contribute to rational interventions for children with disrupted attachment histories. These interventions should not only be effective, but also safe (unlike coercive treatments that are labelled by their proponents as 'attachment therapies' [56]). If support within children's own families is not effective or feasible and children have to be placed out of home, the developmental risks of foster care show that more is needed than a physically safe family. Emerging findings have been reviewed which suggested that well-designed interventions aimed at foster parents may nudge back psychophysiological parameters within the normative range. Even for children with intellectual disabilities, the interactions between behaviour, environment, and psychophysiology appeared malleable by psychotherapy (ITAB) consisting of sensitivity and taking the time to get to know the child and to allow the child to get to know the therapist. More research is needed to test whether specific activities within the ITAB protocol, such as games with disappearing and returning and making and breaking contact, might derive their effect by stimulating the experience of familiarity and recognition, stimulating neuroception of safety in Porges' terms.

In any case, psychophysiological measures prove useful because they demonstrate that intervention not only change outward behaviour, but hidden physiological responses change as well. Rather than giving up on the potential of children severely affected by disruptions of attachment to participate in mutually fulfilling social relationships, practice may build on the initial findings reviewed to expand the number of evidence based interventions on offer for this vulnerable group of children.


Self-Concept

Just as attachment is the main psychosocial milestone of infancy, the primary psychosocial milestone of childhood is the development of a positive sense of self. How does self-awareness develop? Infants don’t have a self-concept, which is an understanding of who they are. If you place a baby in front of a mirror, she will reach out to touch her image, thinking it is another baby. However, by about 18 months a toddler will recognize that the person in the mirror is herself. How do we know this? In a well-known experiment, a researcher placed a red dot of paint on children’s noses before putting them in front of a mirror (Amsterdam, 1972). Commonly known as the mirror test, this behavior is demonstrated by humans and a few other species and is considered evidence of self-recognition (Archer, 1992). At 18 months old they would touch their own noses when they saw the paint, surprised to see a spot on their faces. By 24–36 months old children can name and/or point to themselves in pictures, clearly indicating self-recognition.

Children from 2–4 years old display a great increase in social behavior once they have established a self-concept. They enjoy playing with other children, but they have difficulty sharing their possessions. Also, through play children explore and come to understand their gender roles and can label themselves as a girl or boy (Chick, Heilman-Houser, & Hunter, 2002). By 4 years old, children can cooperate with other children, share when asked, and separate from parents with little anxiety. Children at this age also exhibit autonomy, initiate tasks, and carry out plans. Success in these areas contributes to a positive sense of self. Once children reach 6 years old, they can identify themselves in terms of group memberships: “I’m a first grader!” School-age children compare themselves to their peers and discover that they are competent in some areas and less so in others (recall Erikson’s task of industry versus inferiority). At this age, children recognize their own personality traits as well as some other traits they would like to have. For example, 10-year-old Layla says, “I’m kind of shy. I wish I could be more talkative like my friend Alexa.”

Development of a positive self-concept is important to healthy development. Children with a positive self-concept tend to be more confident, do better in school, act more independently, and are more willing to try new activities (Maccoby, 1980 Ferrer & Fugate, 2003). Formation of a positive self-concept begins in Erikson’s toddlerhood stage, when children establish autonomy and become confident in their abilities. Development of self-concept continues in elementary school, when children compare themselves to others. When the comparison is favorable, children feel a sense of competence and are motivated to work harder and accomplish more. Self-concept is re-evaluated in Erikson’s adolescence stage, as teens form an identity. They internalize the messages they have received regarding their strengths and weaknesses, keeping some messages and rejecting others. Adolescents who have achieved identity formation are capable of contributing positively to society (Erikson, 1968).

Dig deeper


Attachment Behavioral System

Omri Gillath , . R. Chris Fraley , in Adult Attachment , 2016

What about sex?

Numerous studies have focused on another interplay between two behavioral systems—attachment and sex (eg, Shaver & Mikulincer, 2012 ). The function of the sex system is to pass the genes from one generation to another via intercourse with an appropriate partner (eg, Buss & Kenrick, 1998 ). The system is activated by a variety of cues, including being in the presence of an attractive potential mate. The system’s responses include approaching such a partner (initiating a relationship/interaction), getting an erection or experiencing vaginal wetness, pelvic thrusting, engaging in sexual activity, and experiencing enjoyable sex (ie, increases in positive mood and approach motivation). For example, Gillath et al., 2008a exposed people to either sex-related words or sexual images (pictures of naked opposite sex members) and then measured their willingness to self-disclose and the accessibility of intimacy-related words. Gillath and colleagues found that participants demonstrated increases across both outcomes following exposure to a sexual prime. These outcomes are thought to be related to initiating new relationships (ie, the propensity to self-disclose and to thinking about intimacy), suggesting that when the sex system is activated, people are more inclined/open to initiate new sexual relations.

In many of the studies focusing on attachment and sex, an association was found between attachment security and higher sexual satisfaction, attentiveness to a partner’s sexual needs, openness to experience within the sexual domain (and in general), and a preference for engaging in sex within the boundaries of long-term committed relationships as opposed to short-term relationships ( Gillath & Schachner, 2006 ). Insecure attachment, conversely, was found to be associated with less sexual satisfaction and pleasure, and with sex as means to obtain other nonsex-related goals, such as status, prestige, and enhanced self- esteem. Insecure people are less likely to have sex, less likely to enjoy it, and more likely to feel coerced to do it ( Brassard, Shaver, & Lussier, 2007 Karantzas et al., 2016 ). Avoidant individuals tend to have more uncommitted and nonemotional or distant sex, and have the tendency to poach others’ relationship partner. Anxiously attached individuals have an ambivalent approach to sex, and use it as means to gain love, reassurance, and closeness as well as to prevent rejection (eg, Davis, Shaver, & Vernon, 2004 ). Overall, anxiously attached people seem to conflate sex with love, which may reflect a fusion (or confusion) of the attachment and the sex behavioral systems.

Although there are plenty of studies about attachment and sex, there is relatively less systematic research targeting directly the sex behavioral system and its interplay with attachment (eg, Shaver & Mikulincer, 2012 ). Birnbaum and Gillath (2006) and Gillath et al. (2008a) have attempted to address these gaps by examining the activation and functioning of the sex system. Specifically they theorized that the system has three main subgoals: initiation (of new sexual relationships), maintenance (of existing relationships), and enjoyment (experiencing sex as fun and harboring a desire to approach a partner for sex). Initiation is meant to generate new relationships or opportunities to have sex. Maintenance is meant to sustain existing relationships so people can have multiple opportunities to engage in sex and thereby increase (1) the probability of fertilization and (2) the likelihood that a couple will stay together and tend to their progeny, which can increase the survival chances of the offspring. Enjoyment is meant to motivate people to continue to engage in sex, and again, increase the chances of fertilization.

Gillath et al. (2008a) and Gillath and Collins (2016) showed that, when the sex system was activated (subliminally or supraliminally), people exhibited tendencies or behaviors in line with the pursuit of the suggested subgoals. For example, in a series of studies, Gillath et al. exposed people to images of naked members of the opposite sex or control images (eg, pictures of the same individuals dressed) and then assessed their willingness to make sacrifices for one’s partner, or to use positive conflict-resolution strategies. People exposed to sexual images reported higher willingness to sacrifice and a higher tendency to use positive conflict-resolution strategies than people exposed to the control images. These findings support the idea that when the sex system is activated people are motivated to maintain their romantic relationship.

As with the caregiving system, researchers have examined the interactions between the sex system and the attachment system, and how priming people with attachment security or insecurity cues affects their sexual responses. For example, Gillath and Schachner (2006) reported that priming people with attachment security cues lowered their preference for short-term sexual strategies (such as engaging in a one night stand), and increased their preference for long-term strategies (looking for a long-term partner, or dating the “right” partner). Conversely, priming people with insecurity cues increased people’s preferences for short-term strategies, especially among men ( Gillath, Landau, Selcuk, & Goldenberg, 2011 ).

We cannot finish the review about the interplay between attachment and sex without referring, if briefly, to the evolutionary perspective advocated by Lee Kirkpatrick (2005) . Kirkpatrick suggested that attachment in adulthood is very different from attachment in childhood. In childhood the function of the system is protection, in adulthood it is similar to that of the sex system—reproduction. Furthermore, adult attachment styles represent, according to Kirkpatrick, one’s preference for long- or short-term sexual strategies. In other words, Kirkpatrick suggests that the two systems (attachment and sex) do not simply interact with each other in adulthood, but rather are two manifestations of the same phenomenon.

Another view that has emerged from evolutionary psychology is expressed in the work guided by Life History Theory (see Del Giudice, Gangestad, & Kaplan, 2015 Gillath et al. 2011 for a review). Researchers adopting this view suggest that both attachment style and sexual strategies are shaped by the environment in which people grow up. For example, growing up in a poor and dangerous neighborhood is likely to result in the development of an insecure attachment style and a preference for short-term sexual strategies. These evolutionary-based theories offer an opportunity to broaden the research on the interplay between attachment and sex and challenge existing assumptions about how these behavioral systems are related.


Limitations And Benefits Of Psychological Research On Animals:

Many people see animal testing as a cruel and inhumane practice. They argue that all life is sacred and animals go through a lot of distress during experiments in which they involuntarily take part. The test subjects are treated as objects rather than a living creature and are frequently abused, neglected and kept in improper cages. Moreover, psychological research is done merely out of curiosity, with no purpose, justification, or likelihood of useful results (Whitford, 1995).

Each year 400 million animals are experimented on (U.K. Home office statistics, 2009) and the few breakthroughs that occur are often at the expense of the animals. In fact, Rollin (1981) called experimental psychology, the field most consistently guilty of mindless activity that results in great suffering.

A coalition of over 400 protectionist groups accused psychologist of giving intense shocks to animals, mutilating their limbs, killing them through food or water deprivation and driving animals insane from total isolation (Mobilization for Animals, 1984).

Experiments are often carried out on animals that are not closely related to humans physically and this may produce inaccurate and over inflated results. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) argues that laboratory conditions may themselves undermine the results, because of the stress the environment produces on animals.

However, the inability to produce accurate testing on anything but a living organism, makes it necessary for animals to be used for research and in many cases, no reasonable alternative exists (Gallup & Suarez, 1985). Animals are good surrogates because of their similarities to humans, have shorter life and reproductive spans so that several generations can be studied in a short time, and can be bred free from disease especially for testing purposes. (Psychology Wiki).

Also, animal research places humans in an evolutionary context and makes possible a comparative and biological perspective on human behavior. Psychologists realize that the brains of experimental animals are not miniature human brains but only serve as a model for it, assuming that basic principles of brain organization are common across mammalian species (Canadian Council on Animal Care, 1993)

Moreover, psychology is concerned with understanding and controlling psychopathology, such as depression, phobias, psychosomatic disorders, learning disabilities, obesity and addiction. Many of these problems cannot be studied satisfactorily in human patients because of the difficulty determining causal relationship between variables, and which leaves us only with correlations.

Animals thus provide an alternative by allowing a control of hereditary and experimental variables not easily possible with human beings. Since controlled experiments involve introducing one variable at a time, animals are easier to confine inside a laboratory, and one can have greater experimental control, active manipulation of variables and even exercise ethical discretion (Telner & Singhal, 1984).

The accusation that behavioral research on animals has not resulted in any benefit to humans is not justified either since such research has been responsible for major advances in human well being (Miller, 1985). Our insight into psychological disorders, health issues, addiction and effects of stress and anxiety have been a direct result of animal testing, helping to develop new drugs and treatments for illnesses.

Sperry’s (1968) initial split brain studies on animals lead to better understanding of epilepsy, while electrodes placed inside animal brains have helped to understand biological basis of behavior in human beings e.g. how pleasure is produced by stimulating certain areas of hypothalamus in the brain (Wood & Wood, 1999). Animal research has helped to understand basic motivational processes like hunger, thirst, reproduction as well as vision, taste, hearing, perception and theories on the working of mind and body. It has helped develop techniques to recover lost function in partially paralyzed limbs and treat hypertension and headaches.

The principles of learning established with animals have been used to improve classroom instruction and provide advanced treatments of bed-wetting, anorexia and scoliosis of the spine (Whitford, 1995). Research on early visual deprivation in animals has helped in the earlier detection and treatment of visual defects in human infants.


Evolutionary developmental psychology: Contributions from comparative research with nonhuman primates ☆

Evolutionary developmental psychology is a discipline that has the potential to integrate conceptual approaches to the study of behavioral development derived from psychology and biology as well as empirical data from humans and animals. Comparative research with animals, and especially with nonhuman primates, can provide evidence of adaptation in human psychological and behavioral traits by highlighting possible analogies (i.e., similar function, but independent evolution) or homologies (i.e., inheritance from a common ancestor) between human traits and similar traits present in animals. Data from nonhuman primates have played a crucial role in our understanding of infant attachment to the caregiver as a developmental adaptation for survival. Primate and human data are also consistent in suggesting that female interest in infants during the juvenile years may be a developmental adaptation for reproduction that facilitates the acquisition of maternal skills prior to the onset of reproduction.


Early attachment is necessary for future attachment

The result was completely horrifying. The violated female monkeys completely ignored their babies, neglected to feed them, and in short, did not love them. It was so bad that many even injured and killed them.

Even though it was just a doll, a toy, the monkeys considered it to be their mother and went to her when they needed her.

Beyond just verifying Bowlby’s theory of attachment, Harlow’s morbid experiment made it clear that monkeys need much more than just food and rest. For a healthy development, monkeys prefer to cover their need for warmth before they cover their nutritional needs.

Harlow’s experiment also highlighted the influence of early relationships in the behavior of adult monkeys. The deprivation of social stimulation at an early age caused the monkeys to lose interest in this type of contact later on in life when they were given the opportunity.


4 Attachment styles

In child-rearing literature, many studies analyze the attachment theory styles and how this has a lifelong impact. Keeping this in mind, we know that one's attachment style will affect adult behavior in different ways.

1. Secure attachment

This style is unconditional: the child knows that their caregiver won't let them down. They feel loved, accepted, and valued. Children with a secure style are active and interact more confidently with their environment. There is emotional harmony between the child and the attachment figure.

People with secure attachment styles in childhood tend to have equally healthy relationships in adulthood. It isn't difficult for them to build relationships with others and they don't fear abandonment. Dependency is reciprocal and they aren't afraid of being alone.

2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment

In this case, the child can't trust his or her caregiver and feels constantly insecure. This is why little ones with anxious-ambivalent children need the approval of their caregivers continuously, and they are always watching to make sure that they aren't abandoned. They explore their environments apprehensively and make sure that they don't stray too far from the main caregiver.

Adults who attached in this style as babies, often fear that their partners don't truly love them. It's hard for them to interact the way that they'd like to with others since they expect more closeness or connection than they give. So, in adulthood, this style is generally emotionally dependent.

3. Avoidant attachment

Children with avoidant attachment styles have accepted that they can't rely on their caregivers, which pains them. These little ones learn to live life feeling unloved and undervalued. A lot of times they do not express nor understand emotions and avoid intimate relationships.

As in childhood, adults with avoidant attachment reject intimacy and often struggle with relationships. Those in relationships with someone that attach this way, often feel a lack of closeness.

4. Disorganized attachment

This type is a mix between the anxious and avoidant styles and the child generally acts in contradictory and inappropriate ways. These children tend to be explosive and do things like breaking toys and have a hard time getting along with their caregivers.

They try to avoid intimacy, but they have a hard time managing their emotions, and this causes them to get out of control emotionally in a negative way that keeps them from expressing positive feelings.

Adults with this style tend to harbor frustration and rage. They don't feel loved, and they seem to reject relationships, but deep down, actually, this is what they want the most.


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