Attachment theory, first proposed by John Bowlby, tested in infant-parent relationships by Mary Ainsworth, and now studied in adults by personality/social psychologists, focuses on the ways in which fear motivates people to rely for security on “attachment figures,” beginning in infancy and continuing throughout life. A person’s experiences with sensitive and responsive, or insensitive and non-responsive (even cruel) relationship partners, contributes to his or her “internal working models of self and others,” psychological vulnerabilities, coping strategies, relationship outcomes, moral qualities, and religious and political beliefs. Fortunately, negative, insecure working models can be changed in a variety of ways, including meditation, improved social relationships, psychotherapy, and—at least in the short-term—a laboratory procedure called “security priming.” Key research findings relevant to these issues will be presented and discussed.

Phillip R. Shaver, PhD

University of California, Davis

Phillip R. Shaver, a social and personality psychologist, received his Ph. D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1970 and is currently Professor and Chair of the Department … MORE