Attachment Type Glossary

A Glossary of the key word in Attachment.

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  • Created by: Rezwana
  • Created on: 20-02-11 14:44
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Attachment type Glossary!!
Attachment An intense, emotional two-way bond between two individuals, usually
mother and infant.
Strange Situation A technique developed by Ainsworth & Bell for observing infant-mother
behaviour in 7 different 3-minute episodes
Controlled A research method in which behaviour is observed in a situation set up
Observation (controlled) by the researcher
Behaviour A list of specific (`operationalised') behaviours listed in a tally chart that can
Categories be ticked off as they are observed
Secure Attachment An attachment type characterised by only mild separation and stranger
anxiety, and joy on reunion with mother
Insecure Resistant An attachment type characterised by intense separation and stranger
Attachment anxiety, and difficult to comfort even when the mother returns
Insecure Avoidant An attachment type characterised by avoidant behaviour towards both
Attachment mother and stranger, with little reaction shown to separation or reunion
Cross Cultural Research which takes place in more than one culture, usually for the
Research purpose of comparing findings from the different cultures
Meta-Analysis Research in which a single researcher/research team gathers together
findings from various studies conducted by other Psychologists, to gain an
overview of a behaviour
Separation Anxiety The behaviour exhibited by infants when separated from their mothers.
Securely attached infants show mild distress; resistant infants show intense
distress; avoidant infants show very little reaction.
Stranger Anxiety The behaviour exhibited by infants when a stranger tries to interact with
them. Securely attached infants show mild distress; resistant infants show
intense distress; avoidant infants are avoidant towards the stranger, in the
same way as they are towards their own mother
Reunion Behaviour The behaviour exhibited by infants when their mother returns. Securely
attached infants show joy and are easily comforted; insecure resistant
infants are difficult to comfort and show no joy at reunion; insecure avoidant
infants try to avoid contact with the mother
Exploration One of the behaviours observed in the Strange Situation. How far does the
infant move (remember the 16 squares on the floor in the room) in the
presence of the mother? ... in the absence of the mother? ... in the
presence of the stranger?
Socially Desirable A behaviour which participants in research studies think is acceptable and
Behaviour preferred, e.g. the mother in the Strange Situation being more attentive to
her infant

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Demand Behaviour shown by research participants. They show demand
Characteristics characteristics when they try to work out the purpose of the study and
change their behaviour to what it would have normally been.
Culturally Biased Research methods, or the interpretation of research findings, which are
based on the understanding of one culture (e.g. US) and will disadvantage
any other culture, e.g. by showing them in poor light
Collectivist Culture A culture which puts emphasis on group goals and happiness rather than
individual ones, e.g.…read more

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Kagan's A hypothesis which suggests that the caring style of the mother makes no
Temperamental difference to what attachment type the infant develops: it is the infant's
Hypothesis innate temperament that determines its attachment type
Maternal Sensitivity How sensitive is the mother to the infant's needs? Ainsworth believed that
a consistently sensitive mother produces a securely attached infant; a
consistently insensitive mother produces an avoidant infant; a mother who
is inconsistent in her caring style produces a resistant infant.…read more


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