However, the research evidence to support this is rather weak.
In Bowlby’s theory of attachment in humans there are two hypotheses.
At 7 months ‘Special preference for a single attachment figure’ begins to occur, which is where the baby seeks for particular people.
At this stage the baby shows unhappiness when separated from a carer.
Shaffer and Emmerson have also expanded on Bowlby’s theory breaking down the theory into stages.
The stages are ‘Indiscriminate attachment, preference for certain people, special preference for a single attachment figure, multiple attachments.The second stage is where by three months of age infants are familiar with the usual caregivers and will direct signals only towards them.The third and the last stage is where by about six months signalling is focused primarily on the more important caregiver.The stage of ‘Multiple attachments’ the baby is able to form multiple attachments with people.These stages where identified from a study carried out on 60 babies during the first 18 months of their lives.Bowlby believed that all attachments are instinctive, he said that attachments are shown when the child is under conditions of feeling threatened, such as: separation, fear and insecurity.In 19 Bowlby suggested that fear of strangers was an important survival mechanism; he said that babies display natural behaviours, such as: crying, laughing, smiling and crawling, this ensures the baby to feel in close contact with the mother.These behaviours and attitudes occur naturally, unless there is something preventing their occurrence.Research with animals – Konrad Lorenz (1935) and Harry Harlow (1962) suggests that interaction is more important than food in the formation of attachments. The theory says that animals have an innate ability to recognise their caregiver – this allows them to learn important behaviours.Bowlby suggested that attachment develops in a fixed sequence.The first stage in the sequence is signals from an infant like crying which are not directed at anyone in particular, however, there is a preference for the company of people.