Attachment has several referents. First, it may refer to a diverse body of theory, research, infant observation (Jurist et al, 2008), and experiment (i.e. attachment theory). The theory, however, is an amalgam of ideas from ethology, psychoanalysis, neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Second, it is sometimes used to describe discrete behaviours (i.e. gesture and body movement, crying and tears, smiles) aimed at understanding how we form and maintain relationships through proximity. These are sometimes called ‘attachment behaviours’ or ‘attachment-seeking behaviours’. Still others use the term to refer to ‘systems of attachment’, sometimes called ‘working models’ (Bretherton, 1999), which produce internalized feelings of security and efficacy. Finally, it may refer to disorders of attachment (i.e. reactive attachment). A sense of security is the aim of attachment and foremost a regulator of emotional experience (Sroufe, 1996).
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