Term Paper: Relationship With Human Development in Studying

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¶ … relationship with Human Development

In studying and analyzing the development of humans from childhood to adulthood, it is remarkable that much of what becomes to be the individual's personality and characteristics can be attributed to his experiences as a child. In the study of child development, attachment theory developed from studies showing how emotional and cognitive development is influenced mainly through its early stages -- that is, during an individual's childhood years.

Attachment is defined by psychologist John Bowlby as "a close emotional bond between an infant and a caregiver." Emphasis on the degree of an attachment a child has during its early stage of development is given because, as Erik Erikson attests in socio-emotional studies of human development, the "first year of life represents the stage of trust vs. mistrust." This means that as the individual grows, s/he develops attitude and behavior that illustrate his/her "lifelong expectation that the world will be a good and pleasant place to be." Thus, a sense of trust portrays a positive outlook towards lifelong expectation, while individuals who grew up mistrusting people harbor negative views about lifelong expectations.

This paper discusses the nature of attachment theory and its significance in the study of human development, citing the works of John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, and Jerome Kagan as theoretical examples and literature on the study of attachment theory on human beings. To exemplify the theoretical premises of the psychologists (Bowlby, Ainsworth, and Kagan), Margaret Talbot's case study on orphaned Romanian children is also discussed, applied in the context of extant theories on attachment as it relates to emotional and cognitive child development.

British psychologist John Bowlby presented his attachment theory through an ethological perspective, showing the importance of the child-caregiver relationship and interaction. He posited that attachment develops between the child and the caregiver in the first year of development, and that "the newborn is biologically equipped to elicit attachment." In effect, attachment leads to increased development among babies between two to twenty-four months, as a result of constant one-on-one contact with an adult.

Margaret Talbot (1998), in her article entitled, "Attachment Theory: The Ultimate Experiment," she presents the cases of the Romanian children who were orphaned upon childbirth and were later adopted by American couples from orphanages in Moscow. In the article, she states that "the Eastern European orphans have become… [END OF PREVIEW]

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