Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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John Bowlby on Goals - Dictionary of Arguments

Corr I 229
Goals/Bowlby/attachment theory/Shaver/Mikulincer: Bowlby (1982/1969)(1) viewed the systems as ‘goal directed’ and ‘goal corrected’ (i.e., corrected by changing sub-goals based on feedback about goal non-attainment). Each system was conceptualized as a servomechanism that could be turned on, or ‘activated’, by certain stimuli or situations and ‘deactivated’ or ‘terminated’ by other stimuli and situations (basically, by the attainment of what Bowlby called ‘set-goals’, which in the case of the attachment system include escape from and avoidance of threats and dangers). >Behavioural systems move a person toward set-goals by encouraging him or her to monitor, appraise and evaluate goal-relevant internal and external cues, and to learn new means-end associations and stimulus-response contingencies that increase the likelihood of goal attainment and facilitate need satisfaction.


1. Bowlby, J. 1982. Attachment and loss, vol. I, Attachment, 2nd edn. New York: Basic Books (original edn 1969)


Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer, “Attachment theory: I. Motivational, individual-differences and structural aspects”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Bowlby, John
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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