Attachment Theory has provided psychologists with a framework from which to understand emotional bonding between people, especially children in relation to their primary care-giver. Through rigorous testing several typological categories have been proposed and evaluated which delineate people into three predominant attachment styles. Attachment theory pulls its theoretical structure from control systems theory; researchers of Attachment Theory have proposed an attachment system which operates with fundamental principles analogous to control systems theory. The attachment system is initiated given a threat to the person or object which is the subject of an attachment bond. In infants it is initiated and terminated under the most basic circumstances depending on the proximity of the care-giver; a threat to the proximity of the caregiver causes the initiation of the system. Upon further research it has been shown that this same system is initiated when people bond not only to one another, but material objects as well. This study takes the theory a step further by attempting to determine if the attachment system is initiated given a threat to a person’s fundamentally held concept. The rational for this theoretical proposition lies in the cognitive aspect of the attachment system, which serves as the trigger for the attachment system. This study is designed to evaluate whether the attachment system is engaged in response to an ideological threat. The results of this study depend on whether people physiologically react to threats or challenges to their world-view. If this result occurs, the scope of the Attachment system will need to be widened theoretically.


Casey, Michael

Second Advisor

Thomson, Garrett


Philosophy; Psychology


Child Psychology | Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Philosophy of Mind | Theory and Philosophy


Attachment system, Emotion, Cognitive function, Control systems theory

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Bryce C. Benefield