Attachment theory is a psychological model that attempts to describe the dynamics of long-term and short-term interpersonal relationships between humans. However, "attachment theory is not formulated as a general theory of relationships. It addresses only a specific facet": how human beings respond within relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceiving a threat. Essentially all infants become attached if provided any caregiver, but there are individual differences in the quality of the relationships. In infants, attachment as a motivational and behavioral system directs the child to seek proximity with a familiar caregiver when they are alarmed, with the expectation that they will receive protection and emotional support. John Bowlby believed that the tendency for primate infants to develop attachments to familiar caregivers was the result of evolutionary pressures, since attachment behavior would facilitate the infant's survival in the face of dangers such as predation or exposure to the elements. The most important tenet of attachment theory is an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for the child's successful social and emotional development, and in particular for learning how to regulate their feelings. Any caregiver is likely to become the principal attachment figure if they provide most of the child care and related social interaction. In the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver, the infant will use the caregiver as a "safe base" from which to explore. This relationship can be dyadic, as in the mother-child dyad often studied in Western culture, or it can involve a community of caregivers (siblings/extended family/teachers) as can be seen in areas of Africa and South America.
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