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Attachment – Psychological Theories

1. John Bowlby: Maternal Deprivation

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about John Bowlby’s research on attachment, focusing in particular on: (i) the definition of ‘attachment’ and ‘attachment theory’ according to Bowlby; (ii) the origins of Bowlby’s special interest in the mother-infant relationship in his 44 Juvenile Thieves study; (iii) some key aspects of Bowlby’s attachment theory, including its basis in evolutionary theory, the concept of monotropy and the internal working model; (iv) some criticisms of Bowlby’s research, such as its narrow focus on the infant’s relationship with the mother and its cultural specificity.


In this course, Dr Emily Burdett (University of Nottingham) explores psychological theories of attachment as the close emotional bond formed between two individuals. In the first lecture, we think about John Bowlby’s research into the mother-infant relationship. In the second lecture, we explore two studies of attachment in non-human animals by Harry Harlow and Konrad Lorenz. In the third lecture, we think about Mary Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’ experiment as a way of measuring the quality of attachment between an infant and a caregiver. Next, we look at two Romanian orphan studies and think about how the lack of strong attachment relationships in early life affects a child’s later development. In the fifth and final lecture, we consider the influence of early attachment on later relationships, including with a romantic partner and as a parent.


Dr Emily Burdett is interested in how culture and cognition influence our understanding of the world around us. Her research has particularly explored the cognitive and social processes that influence the evolution of 'culture.' Her work uses an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and experimental approach to explore questions about how children and adults form concepts, how they learn and who they learn from, and when they innovate and become creative. These questions motivate current projects exploring the origin and transmission of culture, the cultural and cognitive underpinnings of religion and morality, and the motivations for learning and creativity.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Burdett, E. (2019, September 27). Attachment – Psychological Theories - John Bowlby: Maternal Deprivation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Burdett, E. "Attachment – Psychological Theories – John Bowlby: Maternal Deprivation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

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