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Attach Hum Dev. 2006 Sep;8(3):185-97.

The attachment working models concept: among other things, we build script-like representations of secure base experiences.

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


Mental representations are of central importance in attachment theory. Most often conceptualized in terms of working models, ideas about mental representation have helped guide both attachment theory and research. At the same time, the working models concept has been criticized as overly extensible, explaining too much and therefore too little. Once unavoidable, such openness is increasingly unnecessary and a threat to the coherence of attachment theory. Cognitive and developmental understanding of mental representation has advanced markedly since Bowlby's day, allowing us to become increasingly specific about how attachment-related representations evolve, interact, and influence affect, cognition, and behavior. This makes it possible to be increasingly specific about mental representations of attachment and secure base experience. Focusing on script-like representations of secure base experience is a useful first step in this direction. Here we define the concept of a secure base script, outline a method for assessing a person's knowledge/access to a secure base script, and review evidence that script-like representations are an important component of the working models concept.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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