Child Psychology Edexcel A2 Unit 3


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Unit 3 ­ Child Psychology
Attachment ­ An emotional bond between two people (child and caregiver), which endures over
time and where separation leads to anxiety and distress.
Deprivation ­ The loss of an attachment with a caregiver. An attachment which was already formed
has been broken. E.g. day-care
Privation ­ Lack of an attachment figure therefore an attachment is never formed. It's the absence
of an attachment with a caregiver. E.g. Genie.
Evolution ­ An advancement of species through survival of the fittest. The inheritance of certain
characteristics and pre-programmed behaviour that aids survival. A child stays close to survive and
pass on genes.
Day-care ­ Non-parental care usually provided by nurseries or child minders. Day-care can be seen as
a form of short term deprivation.
Separation Anxiety ­ When distress is shown because the attachment figure is not there. Protest,
despair, detachment.
Structured Observation ­ Variables are controlled
Strengths ­
There are good controls. The behaviour being measured is controlled in a laboratory setting
so extraneous variables that might alter the behaviour are controlled or eliminated.
They are useful in practise. The staged situation is less time consuming than naturalistic
observations as it does not have to wait for spontaneous behaviour to occur.
Weaknesses ­
It's a staged situation so naturally occurring behaviour is not measured. The environment is
artificial so natural behaviour may not occur. As it's staged natural behaviour is not measured
in a realistic way so this limits the generalizability of the research method to real life
There are demand characteristics. The children may alter their behaviour to meet the
demands of the situation. They may guess the point of the study and not show spontaneous
behaviour so data would not be valid.
Naturalistic Observation ­ Variables are not natural
Strengths ­
They are valid as they take place in the child's natural settings and as a result the likelihood of
demand characteristics being displayed is significantly reduced. Therefore, it is fair to assume

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For example, the behaviour of the children in Robertson and Robertson's studies is likely to
be valid, as the children would have behaved the same as in a typical situation.
Good to use naturalistic observations when dealing with children as it's the best way to
collect data as opposed to something like interviews because children can't communicate
properly at that age.…read more

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Different research methods can be used to validate concepts under investigation. Different
research methods can be used as triangulation to ensure validity of the findings by checking
data from each to ensure agreement.
It would be unethical to conduct experimental research. E.g. it would be unethical to subject a
child like Genie to extreme privation as an experiment.
Case studies have ecological validity because they are about real life cases in context. E.g.…read more

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It has practical applications as before when a child was ill they had to stay in hospital on their
own which caused them a lot of distress, but now parents are encouraged to stay with their
child causing them less distress.
Bowlby used other sources as evidence so increases reliability.
Ainsworth - Strange situation: -
Aim ­ To see how an infant behaves under conditions of mild stress.
Method ­ 100 middle class American infants (12-18 months) and their mothers were studied.…read more

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Can't generalise to other relationships.
Demand characteristics from the mother may affect the results.
Has inter-rater reliability as many observers were used.
Unethical as it causes children stress
(Look at booklet for cross-cultural issues and studies)
Bowlby's Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis: -
Bowlby felt that children must have the constant presence of the mother/caregiver throughout the
critical period (first two years). Any breaking of this bond may affect personality/intellectual/social
growth/deprivation could result in affectionless psychopathy. The effect of deprivation is permanent
and irreversible.…read more

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Look at booklet for privation studies and evaluation)
Day-care: -
Belsky found that early and intensive day care resulted in children being more insecurely attached
than children where onset was later and less intensive. Belsky used the strange situation and found
that very young children in high intensity day care (over 20 hours per week) were insecurely
NICHD found that children who attended day-care had more behavioural problems when in school
compared to those looked after at home.…read more

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Children are encouraged to become assertive and independent.
The opportunity to form multiple attachments to other caregivers.
Disadvantages ­
Individual 1:1 attention cannot be given in the same way as at home.
Many studies of day-care have found that children in da-care come out worse in all sorts of
ways compared to children at home.
Bowlby's maternal deprivation ­ separation (i.e. day-care) will have lasting effects on
children's lives.
Children can focus in learning at a greater level whilst at home with no distractions.…read more

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Evaluation ­
Genies case gathered rich and in-depth data.
A range of tests were conducted to generate qualitative and quantitative data.
The results gathered are detailed and valid to the case being studied.
Well documented case study by many researchers so information can be reassessed again.
Good knowledge about the development of language and the sensitive period of
development was found, helping psychologists understand where there are problems.…read more

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There was a control group who were neither thieves or affectionless. This allowed Bowlby to
show a link between affectionless psychopathy and stealing. Without this control group he
would not have been able to draw such a strong conclusion.
Having another control group of adolescents who were `normal' would also have been
beneficial, since the control group the was used also had problems (emotional).…read more


Eddy Snow

This is amazing, thanks!

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