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Behaviourism/Learning Theory

All behaviour is learned. There are three types of behaviour:

Classical Conditioning - learning by association, for instance, Ivan Pavlov

Food = Salivation
Food + Bell = Salivation
Bell = Salivation

Operant Conditioning - learning by consequences, for example, positive & negative
reinforcement such as praise,…

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Attachment - Close emotional bond that lasts. Security, help and trust etc

When Do Attachments Begin?
Schaffer & Emerson Stage Theory

Schaffer and Emerson argued that infants go through three stages in the early development of
attachments to others.

1) Asocial Stage: 0 - 6 weeks, smiling and crying but…

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Types of Attachment
Secure Attachment

Resistant Attachment

Avoidant Attachment

Mary Ainsworth - Strange Situation (1970)

Aim: To find out about different types of attachment.

Procedure: They got a group of children aged 12 to 18 months old and did a controlled observation
in a laboratory. First the mother and child…

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Israeli infants lived a kibbutz or a collective society where everyone is looked after by members of
their community, however, they have close relationships with their mothers. Japanese children are
treated differently from Israeli children. The Japanese children are never left with a stranger. German
culture requires some interpersonal distance…

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The food and the mother are being associated. This is known as classical conditioning.

This is also associated with operant conditioning.


Mother provides child with other needs such as emotional comfort, security and attention.

Harlow's Monkey Study (1959)
Evidence against Cupboard Love Theory

Aim: Harlow's study in 1959 was…

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A sensitive period is when a particular development needs to occur, but does not have to during 0 - 5
years. A critical period is when something has to occur at the age of 0 - 2 or it will fail to develop

Klaus & Kennell (1976)
Evidence for…

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Severe emotional problems may be cause by deprivation (when you have made an
attachment but it is broken).

Bowlby's Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis Evidence

Bowlby's view that separation from the primary caregiver leads to disruption and perhaps breaking
of the attachment bond, with long-term adverse effects and possibly permanent on emotional…

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3. Detachment, during which the child seems to behave in a less distressed way. If the mother
or caregiver re-appears during this stage, she is not responded to with any great interest.
Fortunately, most children do re-attach over time.

This study was important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it…

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1. There may be a sensitive rather than critical period of attachment because the damage
caused by deprivation is reversible.

2. 30 years after Bowlby's research, western attitudes towards childcare have changed.
Children are now accompanied by their parents when they go into hospital.

3. Institutional care has now been…

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Evidence for Bowlby's Theory - Privation

Rutter investigated the behaviour of children bought up in institutions. In the children's later life they
discovered that the children had more criminal psychiatric and social problems than in a sample of
people taken from the general population. The reason for these bad effects…


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