The Strange Situation

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  • Created by: gabbyb98
  • Created on: 15-03-15 16:13
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  • The Strange Situation Ainsworth  [1970]
    • Aim: To study the relationship between an infant and it's primary caregiver.
      • Controlled, naturalistic observation.
      • Procedure...
        • 1. A mother and child enter a playroom. The child explores the environment
        • 2. A second female adult - the stranger - enters the room, talks first to the mother then to the child.
        • 3. the mother leaves the room while the stranger is talking to the child. The stranger interacts with the child. [C&S]
        • 4.The mother returns and the stranger leaves
        • 5.The mother leaves, and the child is alone.
        • 6. The stranger returns and comforts the child. [C&S]
        • 7. The mother returns.
    • Conclusion: Each child reacted differently to both the stranger and their mother in different ways for each part of the study
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Helps identify children at risk,
        • The procedure can be easily repeated due to the standardised procedure
        • Reliability - Results are consistent
          • Has a standardised procedureThe study has been conducted many times, on lots of childrenStill used as a main assesment type.
          • Main et al. Tested children at 1 1/2 (One and a Half) years and 6 (Six) years, and most of the results corresponded, and the childs original attachment type remained the same
      • Limitaions
        • Research may lack internal validity, as it is in a Lab. Experiment format - The child may be acting stressed due to the unusual environment.
        • Puts child under (unneccesary stress.
        • Child may not be acting naturally, due to a lack of internal validity because it is a lab. experiment.
          • Extraneous variables: The researchers already knew what they were looking for during the repeated tests, and so perhaps recognised characteristics and sorted them wrongly
    • Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenburg (1988)
      • Conducted a meta-analysis of 32 studies from different cultures.
      • Findings: Secure attachments were the most common. Insecure-avoidant attachments were more common in Wetern countries. Insecure-ambivalent attachments were more common in Eastern countries.


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