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This thesis describes studies into the rat as an animal model for attachment, along the lines of Bowlby's attachment theory. First, the relation between attachment and human psychopathology is reviewed. The conclusion is that psychopathology is more frequent in insecure attached persons and that there is a relationship between specific types of insecure attachment and specific types of psychiatric disorders. Next, a reinterpretation of the literature on social preference experiments in rodents is given from an attachment theory point of view. Rodents distinguish their own mother by olfaction and prefer her to other conspecifics from birth. This preference also develops for non-natural odours that are offered in the presence of the mother. The pharmacological literature shows that oxytocin is a major positive influence on the developmen...
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