The Strange Situation

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  • The Strange Situation
    • A structured, non-participant, covert observation.
    • The 8 Stages
      • 1) Child and carer are placed in a room, set up like a nursery.
      • 2) Child is encouraged to explore.
      • 3) Stranger enters, greets carer and attempts to play with child
      • 4) The carer leaves the child with the stranger.
      • 5) The carer re-enters and the stranger leaves.
      • 6) Carer leaves child alone.
      • 7) Stranger enters.
      • 8) Stranger leaves and the carer re-enters.
    • AO2
      • Gen
        • Only designed to test 1 yr old babies, older ages are more exp so learn how to cope with factors like strangers.
          • Therefore, hard to gen to those older than one.
        • Younger ages have no ability to differentiate between strangers etc so hard to gen to younger ages too.
      • Rel
        • Struc: coding system can be used based on beh like crying. Generates quant data which is obj with no personal views.
        • Situ variables are well controlled, the same room, toys, layout is used
        • Standardised procedure used, same 8 stages all timed accordingly (3mins)
        • Researchers interpret how distressed they are etc = qual data hence could be subj.
      • Eco Val
        • Artificial set up, room and toys are unfamiliar to child. May feel more anxious compared to at home so need more comfort from mother affecting results.
        • BUT room is set up to appear to be part of real life (nursery) and the stages are staged to be as realistic as possible. Eg, mother going toilet. So could be normal behaviour.
      • Val
        • Child has no understanding that they are part of a study so are unlikely to display DC/SDB and will act as they would in everyday life. Respond to mother in a natural way, seeking comfort when usually needed.
      • Ethics
        • Child is made to be distressed on purpose, type C particularly affected and won't leave in the same state.. takes a while.
          • BUT, no more than what is exp in everyday life Eg, having a new nursery teacher.
        • Mother gives consent etc and has the right to withdraw the child at any point if they appear to be too distressed.


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