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Discriminating Sociability

According to John Bowlby, there are four distinct phases in the normative development of attachment relationships: Phase 1, indiscriminate social responsiveness (birth to 2 months); Phase 2, discriminating sociability (2–7 months); Phase 3, attachment (7–24 months); and Phase 4, goal-corrected partnership (24 months on). Bowlby delineated these phases in Attachment (1969/1982), the first book of his trilogy that subsequently included Separation (1979) and Loss (1980). These phases of developing attachments do not have clearly demarcated boundaries, and the ages at which children move through them may vary. Cognitive, social, and emotional advances, and physiological maturation, promote the progression from one phase to the next.

Consistent with ethological theory, Bowlby argued that the tendency to develop attachment relationships with the primary caregiver is biologically based and universal. ...

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