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Developmental Psychology

Section 1

Explain and evaluate Ainsworth's Strange Situation Experiment

Explain and evaluate Schaffer and Emerson's stage account of attachment

Explain cultural differences in attachment.

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Schaffer and Emerson

Aim: To investigate of attachment in infants, when do they form their first attachment?

Procedure: The P's were 60 infants from Glasgow. The infants were observed once a
month until they were 1year old and then once again at 18months. Measurements were
taken to see when the…

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Show fear of strangers.

Multiple Attachments (10/11 months Baby shows attachments towards
onwards) several different people.

Methodological Issues ­

Only Glasgow infants were used and therefore low population validity.

Ethical issues ­

Not many, research down in their own homes and mothers rated their own child's making
it unstressful.


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Used mother as safe-base to explore

Distress when mother left

Welcomed mother back on return

Treated strangers differently

Insecure Avoidant (Type A) 15% Fell into this category

Showed some distress when mother

Did not seek comfort on mother

Rejected Strangers

Distant and avoided closeness

Insecure Ambivalent ( Type…

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Rare separation like Japan have increased chance of Insecure-Ambivalent

Western Countries (Europe etc.) ­ Increased chance of Insecure-Avoidant.

Section 2

Discuss Bowlby's evolutionary theory and experiment

Explain the learning theory and operant

Any other to note

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Evolutionary Theory

Bowlby argued that attachment was an evolved mechanism that ensured survival
of the child.

He argued that attachment behaviours in babies and caregivers have evolved
through natural selection to ensure the baby survives to reach maturity and to

Babies process instincts such as crying and smiling


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Most evidence suggests that early attachments do affect child later on in life

His idea of monotropy has been challenged and multiple attachments may be the rule
rather than single and unique attachments.

Learning Theory

Learning theory argues that attachments are based on the principles of operant and

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Parent learns to do this as this stops baby crying and therefore positive

This is a perfect system as both caregiver and baby receive something
positive in return and therefore positive reinforcement.

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is based on learning through association. Refer back to Pavlov's
experiment (on dogs…

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Ethical Issues

Monkeys deprived of their mothers and they may never be able to form a bond with her.

Monkeys locked up in a cage and experimented on very stressful etc.


Social learning explanations

Hay and Vespo attempt to learn on how social learning affects attachments etc. They

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Disruption of attachment

Discuss the effects of separation

Discuss the effects of privation

Discuss the effects of Institutionalisation


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