Attachment has been briefly defined as children’s “strong disposition to seek proximity to and contact with a specific figure and to do so in certain situations, notably when they are frightened, tired or ill (Bowlby, 1969, p.371).  Inspired by Darwinian evolutionary theory and Harlow’s experimental work with rhesus monkeys, Bowlby was the first to propose that human genetic selection had favored attachment behaviors since they increased infant-parent proximity, which in turn enhanced the chances for infant survival. Although Bowlby (1969) did not use the concept of ‘inclusive fitness’ to hint at the transmission of parental genes into the next generations, he can certainly be considered the first evolutionary psychologist after Darwin . Attachment is considered to be an inborn capacity of every exemplar of the human species. Individual differences in the quality of attachment emerge in the first years of life, and central to attachment theory is the idea that parenting, more specifically parental sensitive responsiveness to the infant’s distress signals, determines whether children develop a secure or an insecure attachment relationship with their primary caregiver.
We study attachment across the life-span in various non-clinical and clinical populations and cultural groups, and focus on determinants (the interplay between genes and environment) and biobehavioral consequences of attachment security and insecurity for current wellbeing of the children and for their future development.


Bakermans-Kranenburg, VanIJzendoorn 2009 AHD DIP Disorganized Attachment, pdf file
Bakermans-Kranenburg, VanIJzendoorn et al. 2011 AHD DRD4 Trauma, pdf file
Bakermans-Kranenburg, vanIJzendoorn 2009 AHD The First 10000, pdf file
Fearon et al. 2010 Child Development Meta-Analytic Stuyd, pfd file
De Wolff & Van IJzendoorn (1997). Child Development. Sensitivity, Attachment, meta-analysis, parental antecedents, pdf file