Major Movements in Psychology

Attachment Theory

What was Bowlby’s concept of the internal working model?

Although his description of the infant attachment system was largely behavioral, Bowlby addressed the psychological aspects of attachment through the notion of the child’s internal working model of attachment. This is a kind of mental map or script of the caregiver and the self. Through repeated attachment experiences, the child develops expectations about the availability and responsiveness of the mother (or caregiver). The child develops a working model of how the mother-child interactions will play out and then modifies attachment behavior according to these expectations.


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