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Video:What Is the Attachment Theory?

with Dr. Robert Reiner

There are a number of attachment theories in the field of psychology. This About.com video will give you an overview of a couple of the most popular attachment theories.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is the Attachment Theory?

I'm Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York. I'm going to talk to you about different types of attachment theories in the field of psychology.

Konrad Lorenz' Attachment Theory

Freud's was really the first. He believed that attachment occurred directly through mother and infant with breastfeeding. But the really interesting stuff came from a biologist, Konrad Lorenz, who developed something called 'imprinting.' I think the initial study was done with ducks, actually. There's a certain period of life where the bond between mother and, in this case, duckling was formed, certain hours after birth, and that explained why the ducks would follow mom around for a lifetime. Turns out that during those hours of vulnerability when the imprinting can occur, anything that those infant ducks see, that is in the line of vision will become imprinted, too.

Imprinting Creates Powerful Connections

They can imprint this to other animals, to puppets, and sure enough, if you presented in the ducklings visual sphere during those critical hours of imprinting, that attachment was set for life. So this is pretty powerful stuff we're talking about. Affectional bonding is really the contact between two organisms. It's usually between mother and baby, but it lasts a lifetime in different forms of course. Affectional bonding, or contact, or what we call regular affection between adults, whether it's a warm handshake, a hug or sexual intimacy is based on bodies coming together and deriving comfort from each other.

Research Proves Affectional Bonding is Strong

And this has been confirmed in research showing that not only has blood pressure been known to drop when people pet dogs - so we're moving across species here - but we also know from brain scans: EEGs, MRIs and CAT scans that there are actual neurological changes that occur as a result of some type of affection or affectional bonding, or contact comfort between animals, people, whatever. What this shows really, in my opinion, is that we are social creatures.

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