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A Connectionist Approach to the Organization and Continuity of Working Models of Attachment


concerning this article may be sent to R. Chris Fraley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Psychology, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Most research on adult attachment dynamics has been conducted under the assumption that working models are generalized cognitive-motivational structures that are highly stable and activated in a wide array of circumstances. Recent research, however, suggests that people develop attachment representations that are relationship specific, leading them to hold distinct working models in different kinds of relationships. The objective of this article is to outline a connectionist approach to the working model construct that has the potential to explain how global and relationship-specific working models are organized within the same mental system and how different learning environments can support continuity in those representations over time.