Recent cross-cultural studies of individual differences in attachment organization are reviewed, and attention is drawn to new methods of assessment. In a speculative essay, the concept of the conditional behavioral strategy is examined. The concept suggests that individuals may be enabled through natural selection to reach the same biological ends in differing ways depending upon circumstances. A heuristic separation between primary and secondary behavioral strategies is proposed. While the attachment behavioral system is presumed continually active and context sensitive, circumstances may require manipulating the level of output usually called for by the system through secondary strategies that act to minimize or maximize that output in response to a caregiver stressing either exaggerated offspring independence or dependence. If propensities for exhibiting the primary strategy are retained under conditions that call for behaviorally substituting a secondary strategy, manipulations of cognitive processes may be involved in maintaining a given attachment organization.

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