PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 1 ATTACHMENT - all notes and case studies

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  • Created on: 14-05-13 14:30
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Developmental Psych
1. The Learning Theory
The theory that all behaviour is learnt. Specifically all animals learn through classical and operant
Classical conditioning ­ ASSOCIATION. For example, if someone was scared of loud noises but not of
cats... every time they see a cat, make a loud noise, they will soon associate the cat with loud noises and
become scared of the cat.
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) produces an unconditioned reflex (UCR)
Eg. For a baby, food (USC) produces a sense of pleasure (UCR)
A neutral stimulus occurs at the same time (NS) as the UCS and therefore they become associated
with each other. So the NS `predicts' the UCS and causes the UCR.
Eg. Food (UCS) and presence of person who feeds the baby (NS) occur together a number of times.
The NS gradually becomes a conditioned stimulus.
Conditioned stimulus (CS) produces a conditioned response (CR).
Eg. Person who feeds baby, CS now produces sense of pleasure (CR) ­ thus attachment is formed.
Operant conditioning ­initially LEARNING. For example, you may randomly smile at people but one day
someone responds by smiling back. This response is rewarding (reinforcing). This reinforcement leads you
to repeat the new behaviour. Reinforcement increases the likelihood the behaviour will be repeated.
A hungry baby feels uncomfortable, creating a drive to reduce the discomfort (eg through feeding)
When the infant is fed, the drive is reduces and produces a sense of pleasure (reinforcement). So
food becomes a primary reinforcer, i.e the initial reinforcement and one that satisfies a biological
The person who provides the food is now associated with avoiding discomfort and becomes a
secondary reinforcer through classical conditioning. Therefore the person doing the feeding is
seen as a source of rewards.
Contradicting studies:

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The Evolutionary Theory
The theory that tendency to form attachments is innate in both infants and mothers. Evolution is the
process whereby useful features are introduced into a species.
There are 5 features that explain this theory. A S C M I !!!!
Attachment promotes survival in a similar way to imprinting. Observed in ducks, the young display
an innate readiness to form an immediate bond with a mother figure. This bond is important for
survival.…read more

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The Strange Situation
A method to assess the strength of attachment. It is conducted in an artificial environment in order to
assess the infants response to situations of anxiety.…read more

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Reliable ­ has been repeated many times
Provided research into attachment
No demand characteristics from infant
Predicted validity ­ applications to later life
Support the role of responsiveness from Schaffer and Emerson ­ child attached to parent who is
most responsive
Ecologically invalid ­ child may not behave the same as at home as in a lab
Children may have different attachment to fathers or other carers.…read more

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Takahashi (1990)
Study: Used the SS to study 60 middle class Japanese infants and their mothers.
Findings: Similar rates of secure attachment as in Ainsworth's American sample but no evidence
of insecure-avoidant, just high rates of insecure-resistance (32%). The infants were very stressed
when mother leaves.
Discussion: In Japan, infants rarely experience separation from their mothers and this would
explain why they were more distressed in the strange situation than in the American
counterparts. This would make them appear to be insecurely attached.…read more

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Robertson and Bowlby studied the effects on children of short term separation - PDD
Pros/cons of PDD
Suggests/proves that it is important not to separate a child from its carer whenever possible.
Shows that children who receive foster care do better than children who receive institutional
There are lots of factors that affect PDD that were not taken into account.…read more

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Case studies of children raised in extreme isolation
Longitudinal studies of children in institutional care
Case studies:
Kovulchova (1976)
Early life: Twin boys suffered from extreme privation from 18 months to 7 years. Their mother
died at child birth and therefore they were in a children's home for 11 months then lived with
their aunt for 6 months, then went to stay with their father and stepmother. The father had low
intelligence and the stepmother was exceptionally cruel.…read more

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Tizard and Hodges (1984/1989)
Study: Longitudinal, natural study of 65 participants who had been placed in an institution when
they were less than 4 months old. There was an explicit policy in the institution against caregivers
forming attachments with the children. By the age of 4 years, 24 of the institutionalised children
had been adopted, 15 had returned to their natural homes, the rest remained in institution.…read more

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Nursery Based Care
Parents are entitled to free nursery places for all children aged three years and above. Nurseries are staffed
by trained workers and may be attached to a primary school, often gaining benefits from using the school
facilities. They are inspected by Ofsted and are required to plan their activities.…read more

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Findings: Positive correlation between amount of time spent in day care and amount of time
spent playing co-operatively with other children.
Discussion: This is a correlational study ­ so need to be cautious whether its correlation or
causation. Co-operative play generally increases as children get older and more able to talk.
Other studies (DiLalla) found a negative correlation.
The effects of day care on aggression
Belsky (2006)
Study: Analysed data from a longitudinal study of 1000 american children followed from birth.…read more


arianator 4 life

hope you can make one for research methods and memory 

that would be a big help 


Aiste - Team GR

this is amazing :) very easy to revise from 


really detailed, a great revision guide 


could you include more evaluation points please, otherwise this was really helpful

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