Attachment - AQA (A) PSYA1

Includes everything you need to know for Attachment for AQA A As Psychology: 

•Explanations of attachment, including learning theory and Bowlby’s theory

• Types of attachment: secure attachment, insecure-avoidant and insecureresistant

• Use of the “Strange Situation” in attachment research

• Cultural variations in attachment

• The effects of disruption of attachment, failure to form attachment (privation)

and institutional care

Attachment in everydaylife

• The impact of different forms of day care on children’s social development,

including the effects on aggression and peer relations

• How research into attachment and day care has influenced child care practices. 

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 27-04-14 10:52
Preview of Attachment - AQA (A) PSYA1

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Attachment ­ the emotional bond between two people, a two-way process. Leads to certain
behaviours, e.g. distress on separation and pleasure on reunion.
Signs of attachment
Seeking proximity to caregiver
Distress in separation
Joy on reunion
Classical Conditioning
Food (Unconditioned stimulus) naturally produces feelings of pleasure
This means that the feeder becomes associated with the food when the infant is fed.
Mother or caregiver eventually produces the sense of pleasure associated with food.
Pleasure is now a conditioned response which causes attachment.
Operant Conditioning
When an infant is hungry, they feel uncomfortable and wish to reduce the discomfort.
When the infant is fed, the drive is reduces and produces a feeling of pleasure.
Infant learns that food is rewarding (primary reinforcer) and begins to recognise the person that
provided the food (secondary reinforcer).
Attachment occurs because the infants seek to be around the person that supplied the award.
AIM - Suggests attachment may not be entirely based on provision of food.
Removed baby monkeys from their mothers and placed them in a cage with 2 mesh cylinders.
One covered in padding (contact comfort mother) and the other bare but with a bottle on top.
FINDINGS - Found that the babies spent most of their time clinging to the contact comfort mother
and only visited the lactating mother occasionally to feed.
This doesn't support learning theory because it suggests comfort may be more important than
food in securing attachment.
However, Harlow used non-humans (monkeys) and so data has been generalised and therefore
may not apply to further research done on humans.
Schaffer and Emerson ­ support Harlow's findings.
They observed 60 infants from working class families in Glasgow in a naturalistic observation.
Found no link between provision of food and attachment, they found that most of the infants
seemed more attached to those who interacted with them the most.

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
BOWLBY'S THEORY (evolutionary)
Attachment is an innate and biological process that has evolved because of its
survival value.
We are born with an innate drive to become attached to a caregiver.
Attachment must form in a sensitive period or not at all.
Attachment is an adaptive process, infants produce social releasers which evoke
care giving from their primary attachment figure.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Ainsworth Strange Situation
AIM ­ to classify children into different attachment groups
106 American middle class infants and mothers in a lab experiment.
In a playroom and observed every 15 seconds through a two way mirror.
8 main stages including being left alone, left with a stranger and being
reunited with the mother, each stage lasting 2-3 minutes.
At the end the infants were categorised into 3 main attachment types.
Secure, insecure resistant and insecure avoidant.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Effects of attachment type
Prior and Glaser
o Studied effects of different attachment types on future
o Found securely attached infants showed less emotional
o Insecure avoidant infants showed aggressive behaviour,
insecure resistant infant's showed anxiety and withdrawn
Hazen and Shaver
o Conducted love quiz using volunteer sample from a newspaper
o Found securely attached infants believed in enduring, trusting
love.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
RESEARCH ­ Cultural Similarities
Tronick et al - Naturalistic observation in Zaire of the Efe tribe. Even though they live in a community
where they raise each other's children, they still slept with their own mothers, suggesting
attachment with the primary attachment figure.
Fox - Studied children in Israel in a children's home who were regularly cared for by a communal
nurse.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Disruption of attachment ­ when a child has formed an attachment but for
some reason the attachment bonds are temporarily or permanently
Aim ­ to investigate the effects of disruption of attachment and how
important it is to maintain the emotional bond.
Procedure 1
o Took a series of films of young people to investigate effects of
disruption of attachment without maintaining the emotional
bond.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
o In 1992, only 25% of children's hospitals allowed visitors, and
12% prohibited it all together.
o However, families are now encouraged to visit their children.
o High external validity because the films were a naturalistic
observation in a realistic setting and so is less biased.
Case study ­ findings are hard to generalise as different people may
be affected differently.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Privation ­ the lack of having any attachments due to the failure to develop such
attachments during early life.
Found long term consequences of privation are less severe if attachment can still
be formed at an early age.
Studied 100 Romanian orphans in a longitudinal study when they were 4, 6 and
Found those adopted before 6 months showed normal emotional development,
but those adopted after showed disinhibited attachment.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Czech twins
o Spent first 7 years of their lives locked up by stepmother.
o Couldn't talk when first discovered.
o They were cared for by two loving sisters by the age of 14 after they were
discovered and had near normal intellectual and social functioning
o By 20, they were above average intelligence and had excellent
relationships with foster family.
o It was possible they were discovered at a young enough age and
therefore could recover.…read more

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The Impact of Day Care 27/02/2014 17:33
Day care ­ a form of temporary care not given by family members or someone well known to the
child, usually away from the home.
Day nurseries/Child-minding
High quality day care
Staff/child ratio means there are plenty of staff to spend time and interact with the children.
Staff will be well trained so that they can make sure the children are safe and know what to do in
an emergency.…read more


Henry Leahy

Fantastic resource, thank you!! :D

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