Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Infant Survival

  • Tommie ForslundEmail author
  • Pehr Granqvist
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1965-1



Human infants are very vulnerable and dependent on their caregivers for survival into reproductive age. The attachment system, as defined by John Bowlby, is a behavioral control system with a set goal of maintaining proximity to caregivers, which has been retained through evolution as it increased the chances of survival against predators and other natural dangers (i.e., the functional consequence). Bowlby also argued that caregivers have a complementary caregiving system making them responsive to children’s attachment behaviors. Thus, although children (the weaker part) attach to their caregiver(s) (the stronger part), and not the other way around, children’s forming of attachment is a collaborative effort. Mary Ainsworth subsequently discovered three organized patterns of attachment (i.e., secure, insecure-avoidant, and insecure-ambivalent/resistant), which have all been argued to be evolutionarily adaptive in that they enable...


Attachment Security Avoidant Attachment Human Child Attachment Behavior Attachment System 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA