Learning theory, Bowlby and Ainsworth tasks ‘Psychology AS: the Complete Companion’ (page 60)

Brief notes from the tasks on page 60 of my textbook.

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Learning theory, Bowlby and Ainsworth tasks from `Psychology AS: the Complete Companion'
by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan (page 60)
Activity 1
Research evidence (Task 1)
Study Explanation
Supports Bowlby's theory because it showed that contact comfort was more
Harlow (1960) important than feeding, and also that lack of responsiveness was linked to
Grossman and Disagrees with Bowlby as they suggest a key role for fathers in social
Grossman (1991) development.
Suggests the `feeder' eventually produces the pleasure associated with food;
Pavlov pleasure now becomes a conditioned response. Association between individual
and sense of pleasure is attachment bond.
Schaffer and Found that infants were not most attached to the person who fed them, but to
Emerson (1964) the person who was most responsive and who interacted with them the most.
Food becomes a primary reinforcer, and the person providing the food becomes
Dollard and Miller
a secondary reinforcer; thus attachment occurs because the child seeks the
person who can supply the rewards.
Prior and Glaser Concluded from a review of research that the evidence still points to the
(2006) hierarchal model as suggested by Bowlby's concept of monotropy.
Key concepts ­ Bowlby (Task 2)
Adaptiveness ­ behaviours that increase the likelihood of survival, and ultimately, reproduction.
Sensitive period ­ a biologically determined period of time during which an infant is particularly
sensitive to a specific form of stimulation, resulting in the development of a specific response or
Social releaser ­ a social behaviour or characteristic that elicits a care giving reaction.
Monotropy ­ the idea that one relationship that the infant has with the primary attachment figure is
of special importance in emotional development.
Secure base ­ attachment is important for protection and the care giver is a secure base from which
an infant can explore the world and a safe haven to return to when threatened.
Internal working model ­ a mental model of the world that enables individuals to predict and
control their environment. Based on attachment has several consequences: 1) in short-term, gives
infant insight into care giver's behaviour and enables child to influence care giver's behaviour so that
partnerships can be formed; 2) in long-term, acts as template for all future relationships as it
generates expectations about how people behave.
Writing exam advice (Task 3)
Question: Describe and outline one explanation of attachment (12 marks)

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I. Choose the theory you feel most confident on, and think you can remember the most studies
II. Describe the theory in as much detail as you can remember, aiming for 100-150 words max.
III. Don't waste time counting the words! Work out before the exam how many lines (roughly) it
takes for you to write the amount suggested.
IV. Aim to write about 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses, with as much detail as you can remember.
V.…read more

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High in ecological validity. Controlled observation.
Reliability. Little or no control of extraneous variables.
Ainsworth's studies (Task 4)
Infancy in Uganda (1967)
2 year naturalistic observation.
Mother-infant interactions in villages.
Some mothers more `sensitive' to infants' needs and tended to have `securely attached'
infants who cried little and content to explore in presence of mother.
Led to Bowlby's concept of care giver as secure base.
The Baltimore Study (1971)
Mother-infant interactions in an urban setting.
Didn't use behaviour checklists; used shorthand to record observations.…read more


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