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The Nature and Nurture of LoveFrom Imprinting to Attachment in Cold War America$
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Marga Vicedo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226020556

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226020693.001.0001

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The Nature of Love

The Nature of Love

Mary Ainsworth’s Observational and Experimental Work

(p.183) Chapter Seven The Nature of Love
The Nature and Nurture of Love

Marga Vicedo

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the development of Mary Ainsworth's views about attachment in the context of her relationship with John Bowlby. It shows her evolution from being Bowlby's defender to considering herself a coauthor of the ethological theory of attachment. Based on observational studies of mothers and children in Uganda and Baltimore, as well as observations of infants in an experimental procedure she called “the strange situation,” Ainsworth argued that an infant's sense of security and attachment to the mother develops as a result of the quality of maternal care, especially a mother's sensitivity to her child's needs. She also followed Bowlby by presenting attachment as an evolutionary adaptation. However, the chapter also shows that Ainsworth's results did not adequately substantiate the biological basis of attachment.

Keywords:   Mary Ainsworth, attachment, John Bowlby, evolutionary adaptation, infants, mothers, maternal care

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