From 3 months infants smile more at familiar faces and can be easily comfortable by a regular caregiver. The baby looks to particular people for security, comfort, and protection.
It shows fear of strangers (stranger fear) and unhappiness when separated from a special person (separation anxiety).
According to Bowlby infants have a universal need to seek close proximity with their caregiver when under stress or threatened (Prior & Glaser, 2006).
Most researchers believe that attachment develops through a series of stages.
One person may have an attachment to an individual which is not shared.
Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity to the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969).Some babies show stranger fear and separation anxiety much more frequently and intensely than others, nevertheless, they are seen as evidence that the baby has formed an attachment. The baby becomes increasingly independent and forms several attachments.By 18 months the majority of infants have formed multiple attachments.They learn to associate the feeder (usually the mother) with the comfort of being fed and through the process of classical conditioning, come to find contact with the mother comforting.They also find that certain behaviors (e.g., crying, smiling) bring desirable responses from others (e.g., attention, comfort), and through the process of operant conditioning learn to repeat these behaviors to get the things they want.The most important fact in forming attachments is not who feeds and changes the child but who plays and communicates with him or her.Therefore, responsiveness appeared to be the key to attachment.Attachment is adaptive as it enhances the infant’s chance of survival.This is illustrated in the work of Lorenz (1935) and Harlow (1958).The results of the study indicated that attachments were most likely to form with those who responded accurately to the baby's signals, not the person they spent more time with.Schaffer and Emerson called this sensitive responsiveness.