Learning Theory

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  • ATTACHMENT
    • Evolutionary Theory
      • Bowlby's Theory of Attachment: innate response for survival. Nature.
        • Secure Base for Exploring- if attachment secure, child will happily explore therefore learn and develop. Insecure less willing to wonder.
          • Safety- attachment results in desire to retain proximity and therefore safety. Seperation anxiety will be shown.
      • Innate & Reciprocal- innate programming of infant and parent to be attached. 2 way process where infant displays social releases where caregiver responds to needs.
      • +Lorenz (1935) birds imprint on first thing they see supports critical period. +Klaus & Kennel critical period for mothers with babies, skin to skin contact has no LT advantages. +Guiton chicks imprinted on rubber glove and then later tried to mate with object, support for emotional relationships
        • -Genie showed attachment after critical period.            -Harlow monkeys reared with other monkeys formed attachments later on arguing critical period.            -Freud & Dann holocaust survivors formed strong bonds with other children, against monotropy.
        • Can experiments based on animals be generalised to humans?
      • Monotropy- tendancy to bond with one person, often caregiver whose bond is unique and different from others.
    • Learning Theory
      • Behavior based on experience in environment. Nurture/ behaviorism/ association.
        • +Feral children show kids adopt characteristics of animals if lead to provision of food. -Too simplistic, emotions not considered.
          • -Scaffer & Emerson (1964): 60 Glasgow babies visited monthly after birth and 18 mths to assess attachment. Showed seperation distress 6-8 months. Stranger anxiety 1 mth later. First attachment was 65% mum, 3% dad, 27% joint. 39% not with feeder.
            • -Harlow (1959): eight rhesus monkeys isolated from mother. Given surrogate wire/cloth. 4 got milk from wire, 4 from cloth. Both groups drank same amount but wire mother only used for feeding, spent time on cloth. Shows monkeys preferred comfort contact over food.
      • Operant Conditioning (reinforcement): crying is innate response when infant is hungry and uncomfortable. Caregiver (secondary reinforcer) finds this distressing so gives food (primary reinforcer), negative reinforcement. Baby learns crying gets food so repeats process (positive reinforcement).
    • Types of Attachment
      • Temperament Hypothesis- children born with different moods. Easy infants, secure attachment. Difficult, insecure. Slow to warm up, insecure avoidant attachment.
      • Secure Attachment- strong and contented, developed from sensitive responding to the infants needs. Related to healthy cognitive and emotional development.
      • Caregiver Sensivity Hypothesis- responsive caregiver gives security to develop positive working model. Rejecting caregivers cause children to be insecure, feel unworthy. Inconsistent caregiver causes negative self image, attention seeking.
      • Insecure Attachment- develops from lacking sensitivity. Associated with poor cognitive and emotional development.
        • Resistant- infant shows seperation anxiety but then angry and hits on reunion.
          • Avoidant- infant shows no distress when mother leaves and little stranger anxiety, no pleasure on reunion
    • Strange Situation
      • Mary Ainsworth (1970). 100 middle class US Infant 12-18 mths observed for 21 minutes to measure attachment through separation protest, stranger anxiety, reunion behavior.
        • 1. Caregiver and infant enter 2. Stranger joins 3. Caregiver leaves 4. Caregiver returns, stranger leaves 5, Caregiver leaves 6. Stranger returns 7. Stranger leaves, caregiver returns.
          • Secure Attachment- children explored for secure base, Distress when caregiver absent, easily soothed on return. Prefers caregiver to stranger. 66%
          • Insecure Resitant- doesn't explore with confidence, remains close. V distressed when left, difficult to soothe on reunion, hits then clings. Caregiver inconsitant, angry then overly sensitive. 12%
            • Insecure Avoidant- shows little/ no concern when mum leaves, little pleasure on return. As likely to be comforted by stranger, often neither. 22%
    • Cross Cultural Variations
      • Van Ijzendoorn & kroonenberg (1988) meta analysis of 32 studies in 8 countries (Japan, China, Isreal, USA, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany) using strange situation.
        • Found secure attachment most common in all nations. Western second was avoidant, eastern resistant. Variation based on traditional rearing practices.
    • Disruption
      • Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis Bowbly (1953)- if attachment broken before critical period negative impact on emotional, social and cognitive development.
        • Based on 44 thieves where 44 boys admitted to guidance clinic for stealing, diagnosed as affectionless psychopaths.86% had prolonged seperation from mother. -Andocentric sample, hard to generalise. -Possible underlying issues.
      • Seperation- spending time away from caregiver ST (day care) not lasting distress.
        • Robertson & Bowlby (1952) PDD Model- studied John 17 months old, left 9 days in residential nursey, mum in hospital. Protest- child distressed, cries, tries to follow caregiver. Despair- loss of hope, disinterest, self comfort. Detachment- emotional flatness, disinterest in caregivers return. Most reestablish attachment. Effects reduced if familar toy or surrogate mother. Child may be independent,
    • Day Care
      • Social development is the child's abilities to interact with others and behave pro-socially.
        • Aggression- EPPE (2003) followed 3000 UK kids from different backgrounds from age 3 in day care. Longitudinal study saw impact of daycare on social development & behavior.
          • 1. Slight risk of increased antisocial behavior in kids who spend 20+ hr per week in DC. Notable risk for 40+ 2.Children with changing carers show increased aggression 3.Disadvantaged children more likely to have social problems but helped in high quality care with mixed kid backgrounds 4.Quality,  integrating education and emotional care help cognitive & social development
            • 2004 free pre school places were available to 3 yrs kids. Sure Stuart (2001) targeted children below 4 in 500 areas of risk families, offering DC & drop in sessions, v beneficial.

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