Psychology unit 1 spec A - Attachment

I made a range of notes for my unit 1 exam in January, it really helped me ... hopefully it will help you too!

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  • Created on: 19-04-12 17:12
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Attachment ­ A strong reciprocal emotional bond between two people, with a desire to maintain
proximity. (Schaffer 1993)
Primary Caregiver ­ Usually the mother, but is the person who cares for the infant the majority of the
time. According to Bowlby's evolutionary theory this is the first and special attachment `monotony'.
Stages of Attachment
0-3 ­ Pre Attachment ­ Babies produce similar responses to all objects, sometimes smiling in
response to people's faces.
3-7/8 ­ Indiscriminate Attachment ­ Babies begin to develop specific attachments and show signs of
separation anxiety and stranger anxiety.
7/8 ­ Discriminate Attachment ­ Babies begin to discriminate between people by smiling at familiar
9+ - Multiple Attachment ­ Babies form strong emotional ties with major caregivers; mum, dad, older
Strange Situation ­ (Ainsworth 1969)
Measures attachment quality by placing infant in a `strange situation' Ainsworth looked at separation
and stranger anxiety. She also looks at Reunion behaviour when mother returns and Exploration of
the infant.
Overall: (4 mark question)
8 Stages
3 Minutes
Observes through out to measure Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety
1. Mother & baby introduced to room
2. Mother passive, baby explores
3. Stranger enters, talks to mother, then approaches baby
4. Mother leaves & stranger tries to engage with baby
5. Mother returns, stranger leaves
6. Mother leaves baby alone
7. Stranger returns & tries to engage with baby
8. Mother returns & picks up, stranger leaves
By doing this study Ainsworth could determine the type of child; A, B or C
Type A
Indifferent towards mother & play is unaffected by her absence; actively ignore mother when she
Type B
Play happily in mother's presence but upset when she leaves; comforted when she returns.

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Type C
Cry more frequently & become very distressed when mother leaves; ambivalent towards her when
she returns.
Strengths & Weaknesses of the Strange Situations Study:
+High internal validity
+Reliable because you can repeat the study ­ lab
+Controls variables ­ lab
-Ethical issues
-Cultural Bias (America)
-Low external validity
-Misinterprets the total target population
-Only uses mother, excludes father
-Doesn't take into account `special cases' eg. No mother, learning difficulties, abuse ect.…read more

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Learning Theory ­ Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical Conditioning
Pavlov (1927) Learning occurs through association. By pairing food with the sound of a bell, Pavlov
taught the dog to salivate on the sound of the bell.…read more

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Against Operant Conditioning
Harlow (1959) did a study using monkey's it showed that feeding is not the main source.
The monkey was able to go too two un-real monkeys: one was soft the other was hard and made of
wire but it had a food source.
The monkey went to the soft monkey, this suggest food isn't the only or main source of attachment
and reinforcement.…read more

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Supporting evidence for Continuity
Hazan & Shaver (1987) Asked people to fill in a `love quiz' they found a relationship between
childhood relationships and future romantic relationships. Securely attached children tended to trust
others more and believed in lasting love, while insecurely avoidant children tended to be less
trusting and didn't believe in love. Insecurely resistant children tended to fall in love easily but felt
insecure in relationships.…read more

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In some cases young children are separated from their parents either long or short periods of time;
like at day care, have been in hospital, put into care because parents are unwilling or unable to look
after the child. Bowlby observed a number of children which are emotionally disturbed that has been
separated. He argued that attachment is critical for emotional & social development and believed
that disruption of attachment at a young age.…read more

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A longer-term effect of separation is separation anxiety the fear that separation will occur again in
the future.
-Increased aggressive behaviour and greater demands placed on the parent.
-Detachment: the child becomes self-sufficient and does not rely on the parent emotionally (eg.
Refusing to be cuddled.)
-Clinging behaviour: won't let parent out of their sight.
The failure or inability to form an attachment with anyone this is called privation. Studies have been
done to look at effect and see if it is reversible.…read more

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Although the children differed in their relationships at home, at school they were the same. They
made attachments with adults but not peer attachments. The study shows that privation at an early
age affects future relationships even when children receive subsequent emotional care.
-Not all children were following through the study
-Cultural Bias
Longitudinal Studies
Rutter et al studied 111 Romanian orphans adopted in the UK at ages 4, 6 and 11.…read more

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Research shows not all children are permently damaged in privation ie. Rutter el al's study and the
Czech twins by Koluchova.
Turner & Lloyd argued privation alone can't explain psychological damage that there is multiple risk
factors, such as poor care following privation, early separations & parental issues.…read more

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Field ­ Found children who attended day care were more likely to show physical affection during
Clarke-Stuart ­ Found 15 month old children who experienced high intensity childcare (30+) are just
as equally distressed as children who spend less hours at day care per week (-10). This shows the
amount of time spent in day care doesn't have a negative effect on attachment.…read more


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