Baldwin, M. W., Keelan, J. P. R., Fehr, B., Enns, V. & Koh- Rangarajoo, E. (1996). Social cognitive conceptualization of attachment styles: Availability and accessibility effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 94-109.

The mental models underlying adult attachment styles were conceptualized from a social cognitive perspective. Three studies were conducted to test hypotheses related to the availability and accessibility of attachment-relevant relational knowledge. Results showed that whereas most people reported experience with multiple styles of relating, the general attachment style they endorsed was related to: a) the proportion of their significant relationships in which their feelings corresponded to the different attachment style descriptions, b) the ease with which they could generate exemplar relationships to match these descriptions, and c) their interpersonal expectations in these relationships. The last study involved a priming manipulation in which a relationship matching one of the attachment style descriptions was brought to mind, and attraction to different potential dating partners was assessed. Overall, the findings suggest that most people process relational knowledge corresponding to all three attachment styles and that the relative availability and accessibility of this knowledge determines which style people report to characterize their thinking about relationships.