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Working models/attachment theory/Shaver/Mikulincer: Because working models, at least initially, are based on the internalization of specific interactions with a particular attachment figure, a person can hold multiple working models that differ in the outcome of the interaction (success or failure to attain security) and the strategy used to deal with insecurity in that interaction (hyperactivation or deactivation of the attachment system).
Like other mental representations, these working models form excitatory and inhibitory associations with each other (e.g., experiencing or thinking about security attainment activates memories of congruent episodes of gaining protection and security), and these associations favour the formation of more abstract and generalized representations of self and others. In a recent study, Overall, Fletcher and Friesen (2003)(1) provided evidence for this hierarchical cognitive network of attachment working models.
1. Overall, N. C., Fletcher, G. J. O. and Friesen, M. D. 2003. Mapping the intimate relationship mind: comparisons between three models of attachment representations, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29: 1479–93
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_____________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.
Philip J. Corr
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009