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Evaluate contrasting theories of socialisation with reference to different different types of socialisation (you have to describe the learning and evolutionary theory, also you have to evaluate both theories i.e discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both)?





Socialization is a name given sociologists to the life long procedure of inheriting and dissemination of the customs, norms and ideology. It is providing the individual the skill to participate in the society. Behavioural and Evolutionary theories of attachment are two contradictory ideas which tells how a child is attached to the primary care giver. It states there are innate and acquired cognitive abilities developed during the life cycle provided by the biological mechanism and the experiences faced.. To explain the process there are so many theories adapted. Of them the important are the learning theory and the evolutionary theory. In the essay the focus is on both the theories their process, advantages and disadvantages.

Defining the evolutionary and learning theory

Evolutionary theory of socialization is on the nature side which says attachment is biologically innate in a new born (Bereczkei, 2007). It states that the infants cry, smile and laugh as they know they will get a response from the adult. It is biologically inherited and has a critical period of 2.5 years of age. It states infants are more attached to the comforting person who provides protection, support and is basis for future relations. On the contrary the behavioural or the learning theory says it is on the nurture side. It says that attachment is a sequence of the behaviours that are learned from the surrounding environment and they are not at all inborn or innate (Mowere, 2000). It is a learned theory with no critical period and the infants are attached to the sources of food.


Concept of evolutionary and learning theory

The learning theory is based on the concept of classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical Conditioning means the association of the infant for his/her food with the care giver. The care giver provide comfort and fulfil their needs so they become the attachment figure (Ivan et al, 2006). Classical conditioning has the following factors:

Unconditioned stimulus: A stimulus which provokes up a reaction naturally like hunger.

Unconditioned response: A response that happens on its own like salivating.

Conditioned stimulus: This stimulus pairs with the unconditional stimulus but does not cause a unconditioned response.

Conditioned response (CR):  It a response that the individual learns.

The Operant Conditioning means the new born leanrs to grab the attention from the adults by smiling, crying or laughing. The response given by the care giver or any other one than turns as a base to them. The condition suggest that the attachment is based on the provision of care and is the most with the one who provides the utmost care (Tolman, Richie &Kailash, 1990).Evolutionary theory sates the survival is the need for attachment. The infant has innate instinct that in order to survive they need to attach to someone. This attachment is developed during  the critical period and is learned once in a life time. The critical period is the amount of time which a particular things take to develop (Bjorklund & Pelligrini, 2000). Like a bond with the primary care giver which is mostly mother. It states the humans are born to be social as it is the way of the human species to go on. Like for example parents use high pitch voice to control or to scare their children. This is followed everywhere in the cities to small tribes of the whole world.  The evolution theory also has developed some characteristics that are same for the males and the females throughout regardless to their age, ethnic origin, sexual posture etc. Like males are more healthy and females have a patient nature.

Advantages and disadvantages of the evolutionary theory

The advantages of evolutionary theories are as follows:

  • It gives a brief description about the existence of all the species in the way they are and they tells how they will change in response to the environmental disturbances.

  • It explains the nature along with strong evidences.

  • It deals up with the system, structure, adaptation and change as part of social stratification.

  • It gives all the explanations about the social complexity like integrating the technology in to human live, their perception, the technology effects, the tolerance levels and the beliefs relating to values and norms (Buss, 2008).



The disadvantages of the evolutionary theory are as follows:

  • It does not hold any scientific facts.

  • It relies on speculations that have happened in the past years.

  • It also lacks in detail knowledge of the selection pressure that the human race has faced in the past million years.

  • It also does not explain the differences in culture and the differences on the individual basis.

  • Some behaviours are not adaptive.

Advantages and disadvantages of the learning theory

The advantages of learning theories are as follows:

  • It focuses on the individuals behavioural changes.

  • The concept of association between the individual’s is well explained (bower, 1975).

The disadvantages of learning theories are as follows:

  • The approaches are reductionist. The behaviour is decreased to simple association between the behaviour and the environment. It neglects the cognitive factors that are necessary for one’s behaviour (Seward & John, 1970).

  • It also limits the explanation about behaviours as all type of behaviour is not learnt. It argues that anger is behavioural trait that is learned whereas the biological approach says that the hormones like testosterone are responsible for such behaviours.


At the end it can be said that both the theories have their pros and corns. Both the nature and nurture operate in sequence to influence up the development. They follow a interactive rather than an independent pattern. The aspects and point explained for both of them hold logical and reasonable facts. So, both the theories of attachment are involved for the development  of full individual.



Bereczkei T. (2007) Parental impact on development: how proximate factors mediate adaptive plans. In: Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (Eds. R. Dunbar and L. Barrett. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 255-272.

Bjorklund, D. F., & Pelligrini, A. D. (2000). Child development and evolutionary psychology. Child Development, 71, 1687–1708

Bowrer, G.H. Cognitive psychology: An introduction. In W.K. Estes (Ed.), Handbook of

learning and cognitive processes. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1975.

Buss, D. M. (2008). Evolutionary psychology: The new science of the mind. Boston, MA: Pearson

Ivan, Zs. And Bereczkei T. (2006) parental bonding, risk-takin behavior and life history. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 4: 267-275.

Mowrer, O.H. On the dual nature of learning -- A re-interpretation of “conditioning” and “problem-solving.” Harvard Educational Review, 2000, 17, 102-148.

Seward, John P. Conditioning theory. In M.H. Marx (Ed.), Learning: Theories. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970.

Tolman, E.C., Ritchie, B.F., & Kalish, D. Studies in spatial learning. II Place learning versus response learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1990, 36, 221-226.


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