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Social Development
Animal studies & Bowlby's theory of attachment
- Originally thought that reward formed the basis of attachment. Freud
believed that infants1 attach to whoever feeds them, and social
learning theorists also explained attachment through feeding.
- Social learning theorists suggested that the `feeder' becomes a
secondary reinforcer through…

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Evaluation ­ the study did provide important findings on attachment, but
raised ethical concerns about the treatment of animals.

- Another study was conducted by Schaffer and Emerson, who followed a
group of Glasweigan infants and found that they often formed
attachments to people who played and interacted with them.…

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this system can change depending on the conditions ­ eg if the child is ill
or tired.
- Bowlby's ideas have been influential for the most part. However his
concept of monotropism5 has been heavily criticized. A study by
Schaffer and Emerson challenged this claim.

Schaffer and Emerson
Aim ­…

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Age in Stage Characteristics of stage
0­2 Pre-attachment No preference shown for particular
2­7 Attachment in the Preference for particular adults in
making terms of smiling, vocalising and
being soothed.
7 ­ 24 Clear-cut attachment Protest at separation from certain
people, and wariness of strangers.
24+ Reciprocal relationships…

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Episode 6 The caregiver leaves again and infant is alone in the room.
Episode 7 The unfamiliar adult returns.
Episode 8 The caregiver returns in the reunion episode.

Types of attachment
- The strange situation is designed to be complex and stressful.
- Children who take part are usually between…

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Ambivalent/resistant ­ 12%

Disorganised ­ very rare, and associated with infants at risk of maltreatment.

Sometimes the term `insecure attachment' is used to refer to avoidant or
ambivalent infants.

Evaluation of the strange situation

- It focuses on the relationship with one person and as a result a whole…

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- De Welff and Ijzendoorn systematically reviewed research findings
(meta-analysis6). He concluded that infants can have different types of
attachments with each parent. Against Kagan.
- The strange situation is reasonably reliable in the short term. Thompson,
a child at one age is likely to have a similar attachment classification…

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- Similar types of attachment have been identified in the strange situation
and the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)8. This supports the idea
that significant aspects of an individual's character are assessed in the
strange situation. The AAI is a semi-structured one hour interview,
including questions concerning early relationships and how…

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- Genetics only seem to have a weak role in the development of
attachment types.
- Psychologists have been interested in two issues; the way
caregiver-infant interactions result in attachment to certain people, and
the way caregiver-infant interactions could result in different types of

- Bowlby suggested that the…

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- Many psychologists believe that interaction with a limited amount of
people before 8 months is responsible for the type of attachment that
develops. However, it is very difficult to carry out experiments to
identify the key features of interaction that are responsible for
formation of attachment.
- Ainsworth looked…


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