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Then A Miracle OccursFocusing on Behavior in Social Psychological Theory and Research$
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Christopher R. Agnew, Donal E. Carlston, William G. Graziano, and Janice R. Kelly

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.001.0001

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Mind–Behavior Relations in Attachment Theory and Research

Mind–Behavior Relations in Attachment Theory and Research

(p.342) 18 Mind–Behavior Relations in Attachment Theory and Research
Then A Miracle Occurs

Phillip R. Shaver

Mario Mikulincer

Oxford University Press

Building on the pioneering work of Bowlby on attachment theory, social psychological researchers have broadened the original focus of the theory to include more of an emphasis on adult relationships. In this chapter, the authors describe the reciprocal association between mental processes and behavior within attachment theory. Just as mental states of an individual guide behavioral enactment toward others, behaviors often give rise to changes in mental processes. The authors review Bowlby's notion of behavioral system, including its evolutionary roots and biological function. They also describe both normative features of the attachment system and individual differences in the functioning of the system that arise in response to exposure to differing experiences with others. The authors argue that relational experience can be characterized as a chain of mental states and observable behaviors, linked with reciprocal causal arrows. Viewed in this way, behavior can be seen as a vehicle between motivational states.

Keywords:   attachment theory, behavior, behavioral system, close relationships, individual differences, mental processes, mind-behavior relation, personality, social psychology

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