Summary of Child Psychology

Notes on everything in the Edexcel Child Psychology section

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Child Psychology
Key words
Attachment a two way continuous and loving bond between a child and care giver that
produces security and stability for the child
Deprivation loss of a formed attachment i.e. due to divorce of parents or death
Privation the extreme circumstance of an attachment not being formed
Evolution passing on of genetic information
Pre-programmed behaviours to aid survival long enough to reproduce
Changes over time to suit the environment
Daycare care in the day by someone other than the caregiver
Separation anxiety becoming distressed when away from caregiver
Stranger anxiety distress shown when a stranger is present, especially without
Imprinting the first living thing an animal sees they will bond with
Defining the approach
Studies what affects the development of a child
Looks at the impact of experiences when growing up that may affect social, cognitive, and
emotional development
Particularly interested in infancy years
Branch of developmental psychology
Applied application
Bowlby's theory of attachment, including the evolutionary basis
John Bowlby ­ commissioned by World Health Organisation to study the children of
post-war Europe
Found that a child's mental health was dependent upon a warm and continuous loving
bond between child and caregiver
Children separated from their caregiver suffered a broken attachment that caused
depression and difficulty in forming close relationships with others
Attachment is the loving bond between child and caregiver ­ should continue for at least 2
years to avoid adverse effects
Breaks in attachment lead to maternal deprivation
Sensitive period for attachment ­ 18-24 months ­ helps child feel safe and explore
Internal working model represents a mental concept of what a relationship should be like
Origins of attachment can be found in evolution ­ is a necessary mechanism for survival
Attachment is encourages through proximity seeking behaviours
Deprivation can affect later development
Rejected children view themselves as unworthy for love
Evolution ­ any behaviour that aids survival will mean an organism survives long enough to
reproduce its genes so a behaviour will be passed on through genes ­ does not help
Drew knowledge from Konrad Lorenz ­ imprinting ­ 12-17 hours after birth
Harlow ­ comfort is more important in attachment than nutrition

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Emphasised importance of relationship between child and single primary caregiver
Believed attachment occurred instinctively and was necessary for child's survival
First 6 months ­ child displays proximity seeking behaviours e.g.…read more

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­ 86% suffered maternal deprivation
20% of thieves were depressed
Less than 5% of thieves were `normal'
17% of thieves (not affectionless psychopaths) suffered maternal deprivation
0% of control group were affectionless psychopaths
30% of control group were depressed
20% of control group were highly conscientious
4% of control group suffered maternal deprivation
Maternal deprivation can have long term effects on emotional development e.g.…read more

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Children were apathetic, withdrawn, and had a loss of appetite
Found both physical and mental deterioration ­ caused by being in hospital for a long time
and deprived of their mother
Symptoms reversed if period of maternal deprivation was less than 3 months ­ irreversible
if longer
Compared children in an orphanage with children in a penal institution where they were
cared for by mothers
Physical conditions in orphanage were better but children were developmentally inferior
With 2 years, 37% of children in orphanage were…read more

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Ainsworth's Strange Situation and cross-cultural issues regarding
child-rearing styles
Ainsworth & Bell ­ Strange Situation
Said there are different variations of attachment ­ secure and insecure (avoidant and
Structured observation
26 mother-child pairs
Mother and child play happily
Stranger enters room
Parent leaves infant and stranger alone
Parent returns and stranger leaves
Parent leaves child completely alone
Parent returns
Looks at stranger anxiety, separation anxiety, and reunion behaviour, as well as other
behaviours of the child
70% secure attachment
15% avoidant attachment
15% resistant…read more

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Only looked at mother-infant pairs ­ same as Ainsworth's study
32 samples from 8 countries
Germany ­ 3 studies ­ 136 mother-infant pairs - secure 57% ­ avoidant 35% - resistant 8%
Great Britain ­ 1 study ­ 72 mother-infant pairs ­ secure 75% - avoidant 22% - resistant 3%
Netherlands ­ 4 studies ­ 251 mother-infant pairs ­ secure 67% - avoidant 26% - resistant
All 3 showed more secure than avoidant or resistant attachments ­ suggests attachment is
All 3 showed…read more

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Lost mother shortly after birth
Cared for by a social agency for a year
Fostered by a maternal aunt for 6 months
Development was normal
Father remarried ­ new wife was cruel to twins ­ banished them to cellar for next 5 ½
years ­ beat them from time to time
Discovered at age 7
Dwarfed in stature
Lacking speech
Suffered from rickets
Didn't understand meaning of pictures
Doctors predicted permanent physical and mental handicap ­ not reversible
Removed from parents
Underwent a programme of…read more

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Followed up to see how they recovered from early privation
Found in Terezin they could hardly speak but were strongly attached to one another,
showing separation anxiety when separated
All developed normal intelligence
1 sought psychiatric help when older ­ another described feeling alone and isolated
Children all had several moves before arriving at Bulldog's Bank
Only experiences of life had been institutional
Reacted badly to the move ­ destroyed all toys ­ responded with cold indifference or
active hostility towards adults
Followed children…read more

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Rescued and put into LA Children's Hopsital ­ mental and physical development began
almost immediately
Keen to learn new words
Began helping dress herself, using the toilet voluntarily, and moving more smoothly
Worked the team of scientists (Genie Team)
Within several months, Genie had a vocabulary of about 100 words that she understood
Still very silent
Talking was limited to short high pitched squeaks that were hard to understand
Tried to form attachments
Seemed like a normal 18 ­ 20 month old child
Very good…read more

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Cannot empathise with other people
Like repetitive behaviours and routines
Gifted in terms of logic
Find it difficult to make eye contact
Cognitive explanation ­ lack of theory of mind ­ Baron Cohen 1997
Typically developing children develop the theory of mind at around 3 years
Able to understand that other people have their own minds and think differently ­ have
their own intentions, motives, and feelings
Have the ability to read minds or to make inferences about what other people believe ­
allows them…read more



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