Psychologist John Bowlby coined the term attachment as it relates to child development. Attachment refers to the process in which an infant bonds with primary caregivers. Attachment was once thought to be heavily influenced by the provision of food; that is, it was assumed that an infant would form the strongest bond with the caregiver who supplied food. However, Bowlby suggested that the process of attachment was much more nuanced and complex. Another well-known theorist who studied attachment at the time was Mary Ainsworth. While there are differences between Bowlby’s and Ainsworth’s attachment theories, both theories attempt to explain how attachment occurs, classify different attachment styles, and assert that the strength of attachment with one’s primary caregivers has a profound effect on social, emotional, and cognitive development and relationships later in life. However, it is important to keep in mind that psychological concepts and phenomena, such as attachment, are culturally bound. What is considered to be normal in one culture may be considered to be atypical in another culture, and vice versa. In this discussion, you will explore the applicability of Bowlby’s and Ainsworth’s theories of attachment in the context of two different cultures.
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