chapter  Three
Attachment theory and recent developments in neuroscience
ByLisa Wake, Betty Alice Erickson
Pages 15

This chapter discusses Attachment theory and recent developments in neuroscience. In attachment theory, the primary attachment is to the mother or care-giver, with anxieties being a response to separation from the mother. By six months of age, the baby becomes aware of others, and secondary attachments are formed. It is at this age that “stranger” anxiety emerges, with the baby seeing the stranger as representing danger. Bowlby considers that it is quality of relationship, rather than quantity of time, that enables a secure sense of self. The basal ganglia determine instinctive responses, including will power. Activation of this area of the brain will result in stimulation of the autonomic nervous system, providing movement and action. Basic motivational needs are stimulated by the hypothalamus within its primary role of regulating endocrine, motor, and autonomic functioning. These motivations are driven by internal signals of homeostasis and, where the balance is threatened, the body will react with both away from and towards motivational behaviours.