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date: 08 December 2021

Human Attachment and Affiliationlocked

Human Attachment and Affiliationlocked

  • Vivan ZayasVivan ZayasCornell University, Department of Psychology
  •  and Ezgi SakmanEzgi SakmanCornell University, Department of Psychology


One of the defining features of human experience is the formation and maintenance of affiliative and attachment ties. As these ties offer numerous adaptive advantages, human beings have evolved behavioral and neurobiological systems to ensure their formation and maintenance. The need to affiliate is pervasive and powerful. Consequently, the affiliative system is hypersensitive to social cues signaling any possibility that the ties could be under threat. This alarm system motivates restorative behavior, ensuring valued social ties are protected. Whereas affiliative ties can develop between any two individuals, attachment bonds are typically formed with a few significant others, and in many cases only one person serves as the main attachment figure. The attachment system functions in a similar way in both infancy and adulthood, ensuring proximity to attachment figures in the face of physical and psychological threats. Even though the need to form affiliative ties and attachment bonds has been shown to be universal, significant cross-cultural variations in how they unfold are also reported. Both the affiliative and the attachment systems protect the individual against various risks and aid in maintaining a physically and psychologically healthy existence via regulating the stress reactivity system.


  • Psychology and Other Disciplines

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