Monday, November 25, 2013

Attachment to People, Memories, Concepts, Theories, Dogmas ...

      "One of the basic tenets of Bowlby's attachment theory is interactions with significant others who are available & supportive in times of stress facilitate the formation of a sense of a "secure base," or ... felt security. This sense can be viewed as the cognitive-affective aspect of an interpersonal prototype or script
     Theoretically, the script includes something like the following if-then propositions: If I encounter an obstacle or become distressed, I can approach a significant other for help; he or she is likely to be available and supportive; I will experience relief and comfort as a result of proximity to this person; I can then return to other activities. 
     In Bowlby's terms, the sense of having a secure base provides an individual with a framework for maintaining well-being, formulating effective emotion-regulation devices, developing positive models of the self & others, and engaging in exploration & risk-taking activities.
     Although the sense of having a secure base may be formed during early interactions with primary caregivers, Bowlby contended that every meaningful interaction with significant others throughout life may affect a person's beliefs about others' availability & supportiveness. Moreover, although the sense of having a secure base may be quite general, it is also common for people to develop relationship-specific beliefs organized around actual experiences with a specific partner. These beliefs do not necessarily fit with the more general, chronic sense of having (or not having) a secure base. In fact, like every cognitive-affective representation, the sense of having a secure base can be contextually activated by actual or imagined encounters with available & responsive others, even among persons who have chronic doubts about their secure base." 
       Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. Attachment theory and intergroup bias: Evidence that priming the secure base schema attenuates negative reactions to out-groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2001; 81(1): 97–115.

     "There are two remarkable things about the empirical findings summarized (in the paper above). One is that meaningful benefits emerge not only from actual secure attachments in real-life relationships, but also from the mere activation of attachment-connoting concepts into working memory. The second remarkable finding is that these beneficial effects are found across such a diverse range of meaningful outcomes. The cognitive priming of attachment security makes people healthier. It leads them to be more compassionate and helpful to others. It reduces prejudice. Future research will, no doubt, discover yet more benefits that emerge from the simple priming of attachment security. I’m tempted to believe that a sense of secure attachment may be the psychological equivalent of a broad-spectrum antibiotic — a sort of universal antidote to everything that ails us."

       Schaller M. Is secure attachment the antidote to everything that ails us? Psychological Inquiry 2007; 18(3): 191-193.

       There's a problem with this "universal antidote." Wisdom traditions agree that serious evolution of consciousness begins with LETTING GO of ATTACHMENT - to everything, without exception.


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