Attachment Glossary

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ATTACHMENT A close two-way emotional bond between 2 individuals, in which each
individual sees the other as essential for their own emotional security.
Attachment in humans takes a few months to develop
RECIPROCITY: Responding to the action of another with similar action, where actions
of 1 partner elicit a response from the other partner; like a
conversation (Brazelton 1979)
INTERACTIONAL When 2 people interact, they tend to mirror what the other is doing in
SYNCHRONY: terms of their facial and body movements. This includes imitating
emotions as well as behaviours. This is described as synchrony- when 2
(or more) things move in the same pattern; like a dance (Meltzoff and
Moore 1977)
IMPRINTING An innate readiness to develop a strong bond with the mother which
takes place during a specific time in development, probably the first
few hours after birth/hatching. If it doesn't happen at this time it
probably will not happen (Lorenz 1935)
LEARNING THEORY Name given to a group of explanations which explain behaviour in
terms of learning rather than any inborn tendencies or higher order
thinking (operant and classical conditioning)
CLASSICAL Learning through association. A neutral stimulus is consistently paired
CONDITIONING with an unconditioned stimulus so that it eventually takes on the
properties of this stimulus and can produce a conditioned response
OPERANT Learning through reinforcement (Skinner; Dollard and Miller 1950)
SOCIAL LEARNING Learning through observing others and imitating behaviours that are
THEORY rewarded
BOWLBY'S INTERNAL A mental representation we all carry with us of our attachment to our
WORKING MODEL: primary caregiver. They are important in affecting our future
relationships because they carry our perception of what relationships
are like (Bowlby 1958; Hazan and Shaver 1987)
CRITICAL PERIOD A biologically determined period of time during which certain
characteristics can develop. Outside this period of time (2 ½ years) such
development will not be possible (Bowlby 1958)
MONOTROPY The idea that the one relationship that the infant has with his/her
(monotropic) primary attachment figure is of special significance in emotional
development (Bowlby 1958)
SOCIAL RELEASER A social behaviour or characteristic that elicits caregiving and leads to
attachment (e.g. smiling)
STRANGE SITUATION A controlled observation designed to test attachment security (Mary
Ainsworth 1971, 1978)
SEPARATION ANXIETY: The distress shown by an infant when separated from his/her
caregiver. This isn't necessarily the child's biological mother
STRANGER ANXIETY: The distress shown by an infant when approached or picked up by
someone who is unfamiliar

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INSECURE AVOIDANT Type of attachment which describes those children who tend to avoid
social interaction and intimacy with others (Type A- Mary Ainsworth
INSECURE RESISTANT Type of attachment which describes those infants who both seek and
reject intimacy and social interaction (Type C- Mary Ainsworth 1971,
SECURE ATTACHMENT Type of attachment which is strong. It develops as a result of sensitive
responding by the caregiver to the infant's needs. Securely attached
infants are comfortable with social interaction and intimacy.…read more


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