AQA PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 1 ATTACHMENT

BASIC NOTES ON ATTACHMENT

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Uroos Fatima VIW
ATTACHMENT
Attachment- an emotional tie or relationship between two people shown in their behaviour
Ethology- study of animals
Maccoby (1980) suggested people with attachment:
Seek proximity- want to be near each other all the time
Distress on separation- distress when they aren't together
Joy on reunion- hugging when they are together
General orientation towards each other- engage with each other's activities
Critical period- specific time to develop
Sensitive period- likely to occur in a time period e.g. start to talk around 12-18 months
Konrad Lorenz- IMPRINTING `mother goose' the geese who followed the first moving object they
saw
Schaffer and Emerson(1964) looked at gradual development of attachments on 60 babies in
Glasgow, he visited them monthly and after 18 months and collected data on attachment by
observation, interviews and said to mother to rate their babies behaviour
Separation anxiety- anxiety or distress when caregiver leaves, shows they have formed a
strong attachment as they don't want them to leave
Stranger distress- distressed when someone they don't know approaches them
When does attachment take place?
Attachment behaviours developed in stages linked to age
Separation anxiety- 6- 8 months
Stranger distress- a month later on
And then multiple attachments take place after first attachment is formed
65% first attachment to mother
3% first attachment to father
In 40% of the babies had their first attachment with a caregiver who didn't care for them
such as feeding, changing nappies etc.
Methodological issues
- use different methods of data (observation, ratings, interviews) it's called triangulation
- Ecological validity as it's in a real life environment
- It's extremely valuable information that has been found out
Ethical issues
Not stressful for babies and mothers so minimum psychological harm can take place
Asocial stage Indiscriminate stage Specific attachments Multiple attachment
0-6 weeks 6 weeks- 6 months 7 months+ 10/11 months+
-No discrimination so -More sociable -Begins to show -Multiple attachments
baby gives similar -Can tell people apart separation anxiety starts to develop
responses to but they don't show -Begins to show fears
everyone stranger distress of stranger
-But rapidly learn how
to discriminate familiar

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people by their smell
and voice
THEORIES
Learning theory
Operant conditioning- positive/ negative reinforcement
When baby cries because of hunger
Then it's uncomfortable for the caregiver
So they solve the unpleasant crying by feeding the baby
Negative reinforcement for mother as they want to stop the crying so will repeat to stop them
crying
Positive reinforcement for the baby as the food/ hugs is their rewards so they will repeat the
actions to get it which will form an attachment
Classical conditioning-…read more

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STRANGE SITUATION- ATTACHMENTS TYPES
Methodological: lots of info on attachment, can replicate easily and do in different cultures, lacks
validity, and may provide child's response to separations
Ethical: unfamiliar environment for baby but can be used as good way to measure attachment as it
happens when they are in nursery etc.…read more

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Did a meta-analysis of 32 separate studies in 8 countries for strange situation
Shows there are large differences between cultures
Secure attachment- most common in all the cultures surveyed, lowest was in china (50%) and
highest in Britain and Sweden (75%) = more securely attached
Insecure-avoidant attachment- most common in West Germany than other western countries
rare in Israel and japan
Insecure-ambivalent attachment- mostly common in Israel, china and japan = brought up to be
more independent
Over-simplification to assume that all…read more

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Type of attachment the child and caregiver has: a secured attachment is more likely to cope
better with short separations as they belief their mother will return
Sex of the child: boys respond more strongly to separation than girls
Whom the child is left with and quality of care: if left with another multiple attachment figure
then effects are minimal
Experience of previous separations: if they had experiences where they have been
separated then they are likely to respond better than infants…read more

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Found:
At age 8- children who were adopted had closer attachment to adopted families and children who
went back to biological families where more hostile
Age 16- adopted children still more attached and biological families still more hostile
Methodological: lots of data, interviews etc.
Longitude study- each stage someone dropped out, natural experiment but researcher decided who
should be adopted etc.…read more

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Repeated when they were 2 ½ and 3 ½ years old
Age of 6 ½ ­ said to carer to describe the child's social skills
Age 8 1/2 ­ give their perception of child's behaviour and relationships with other peers
Found:
Who spend long days at childcare and were under the age of 3 ½ were socially competent= tired and
frustrated from having to share adult attention for a long time which leads to negative interactions
with other children
Who spend more…read more

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Studies/Theories
Attachment
Maccoby Separation anxiety, distress and joy on reunion
Operant conditioning Positive/negative reinforcement
hugs/food are rewards so baby repeats actions
Classical conditioning Conditioned Stimulus (food) paired with
unconditioned response (relief from being fed)
which is done by neutral stimulus (caregiver)
Social learning theory Learn from parents `role models'
Bowlby's evolutionary theory Evolved
Monotropy
Internal working model
Sensitive time period
Zimmerman et al. (multiple attachment exists) Life events such as parental divorced etc.…read more

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