AQA AS psychology - Early social development

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  • Created by: Kerry
  • Created on: 17-03-14 20:33

Learning Theory - Classical conditioning

Attachment - an emotional bond between two people, it is a reciprocal bond that endures over time 

Learning theory - attachment is learned through either association or reinforcement and is not innate - babies not born with innate attachment to mother, they learn attachment through association of a NS (mother) with an UCS (food) 

Classical Conditioning: An unconditional stimulus (UCS) in the form of food produces unconditional response (UCR) in form of pleasure                                                             The mother is neutral stimulus (NS) - produces no response on own that appears with the UCS (food) and causes the UCR of pleasure                                                               The child associates the mother with feeling of pleasure, the mother becomes conditioned stimulus (CS) that produces CR 

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Learning Theory - Operant conditioning

Operant Conditioning - infant makes an association between an action and a reward (reinforcer), reinforcer causes action to be repeated                                                    Infant performs an action (cries) and is bought food, food satisfies infants hunger and makes it feel pleasure and comfort, makes food a primary reinforcer - negative reinforcer so infant repeats action                                                                                  The mother becomes the secondary reinforcer as she provides the food, infant forms attachment with mother as she is source of reward (food)                                 Attachment forms when child gets feeling of pleasure from secondary reinforcer 

Negative reinforcer - something that takes away a bad situation 

Positive reinforcer - something that makes a good situation better 

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Evaluation of Learning theory

Schaffer & Emerson Glasgow babies - Criticism

Studied 60 babies from mainly working class homes at monthly intervals during first 18months, children studied in own home - interactions with carers observed and carers interviewed                                                                                                                   Found that the infant was more likely to form an attachment not with the person who fed it but the person that interacted with it the most - 30% of infants formed attachment with someone other than primary carer (feeder) 

This suggests food isnt the main requirement for forming an attachment and cupboard love is not best explanation for attachment - association/reinforcement may play part 

WEAKNESS - parents were interviewed so study may be suspectible to social desirability bias 

WEAKNESS - only carried out on working class families - lacks population validity and representativeness - less reliable, may not be generalisable 

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Evaluation of Learning theory

Harlows monkey study - criticism 

Conducting research on rhesus monkeys when noticed young monkeys kept on own in cages became distressed when cages cleaned                                                               Cages had sanitary pads lining the bottom - monkeys had formed attachment to these as security blankets                                                                                                           Led Harlow to investigate that contact comfort rather than food was important in the development of an attachment 

Created 2 wire monkeys - 1 lactating and only wire, other no lactation and covered in cloth                                                                                                                                According to learning theory should be attached to wire monkey - spent most time with cloth monkey (only leaving to feed) and clung to it when frightened (proximity seeking behaviour - characteristic of attachment) 

Suggests comfort rather than food is important in the development of an attachment 

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Evaluation of Learning theory

Other evaluation points: 

Strength - provide adequate explanation of how attachments form - we do learn through association/reinforcement 

Weakness - Learning theory based on studies with non-human animals - human behaviour may be similar in some ways but is more influenced by higher order thinking/emotions - lack validity as behaviourist explanation is reductionist, takes complex behaviour and oversimplifies it  

Weakness - Cannot generalise the findings of animal studies to human behaviour as different thinking (higher) and emotions 

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Bowlby's theory of attachment

Outline - 6 marks 

  • Evolutionary theory - attachment is behavioural system that has evolved as is important for survival 
  • Children have innate drive to become attached to caregiver as aids survival 
  • This is biological process that takes place during a sensitive period 
    • Period in which attachments develop much like critical period for imprinting 
    • Sensitive period - time when attachments are most likely to develop - between 4-6 months, after this is more difficult for child to form attachment 
  • As innate behaviour child has mechanisms to encourage care-giving behaviour from parents e.g. smiling and crying, baby face encourage contact 
  • Attachment acts as secure based from whcih child can explore world and return to when it feels threatened - attachment causes independence rather than dependence
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Bowlby's theory of attachment

Outline - 6 marks  

  • Form number of attachments but primary attachment (bias towards one individual) is called monotrophy - secondary attachments form a hierachy of attachments 
  • Infant becomes most strongly attached to person who responds most sensitively to social releasers - sensitivity hypothesis and becomes primary attachment figure
  • Primary caregiver attachment forms a internal workng model - cluster of concepts about relationships and what to expect from others - relationships involve consistent/inconsistent love, whether others make you feel anxious or good etc 
  • Internal working model causes consistency between early emotional experiences and later relationships - continuity hypothesis 
  • Infants who are securely attached in infancy continue to be socially and emotionally competent whereas insecurely attached have social/emotional difficulties later in life
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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Lorenz - Support 

  • Divided clutch of gosling eggs between incubator and mother
  • When incubator eggs hatched first living/moving thing they saw was Lorenz and started following him around (imprinted) 
  • Marked groups to distinguish them, placed them together - goslings divided themselves up and followed mother or Lorenz 
  • This suggests that young animal imprints on first object it sees - is innate 

Supports Bowlbys theory as similar process is likely to have evolved in many species as way to protect young animals and promote survival 

However..                                                                                                                            This study took place on birds which vary significantly from humans in their cognitive processes - this makes it difficult to generalise the findings of this study to humans 

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Hodges & Tizard - Senstitive period - Support 

  • Followed group of 65 children who had been placed in an institution from under 4 months old when they hadnt formed attachments - sensitive period is 4-6 mnths 
  • Policy that discouraged carers from forming attachments with children 
  • Found 70% of children werent able to deeply care about anyone 
  • Had problems with peers - less likely to have special friend/ be liked by others

This supports Bowlby's view that the failure to form attachments during the sensitive period makes it difficult to form attachments and has an irreversible effect on emotional development 

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Tronick et al - Universality - Support 

If attachment did evolve and is innate behavour we would expect attachment and caregiver behaviours to be universal 

  • Studied Efe tribe from Zaire, Africa who live in extended family groups 
  • Infants are looked after and sometimes breastfed by other women but sleep with their own mothers at night 
  • Despite differences in childrearing practises, at 6 months children showed one primary attachment 

This supports Bowlby's theory that attachment and caregiving behaviour is innate, instinctive and has evolved to promote survival as it is universal and not influence by different cultural practises 

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Tronick et al - Universality - Support 

If attachment did evolve and is innate behavour we would expect attachment and caregiver behaviours to be universal 

  • Studied Efe tribe from Zaire, Africa who live in extended family groups 
  • Infants are looked after and sometimes breastfed by other women but sleep with their own mothers at night 
  • Despite differences in childrearing practises, at 6 months children showed one primary attachment 

This supports Bowlby's theory that attachment and caregiving behaviour is innate, instinctive and has evolved to promote survival as it is universal and not influence by different cultural practises 

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Schaffer & Emerson - Caregiver sensitivity - Support

  • Observed that strongly attached infants had mothers who responded quickly to their demands (social releases) and who offered their child the most interaction 
  • Infants who were weakly attached had mothers who failed to interact with them 

This supports Bowlby's view that sensitive responsiveness was key to forming an attachment as those who responded most sensitively to infants social releasers had more secure attachments than those who didnt  

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Multiple attachments - Weakness 

 Rutter et al 

  • Holds the view that all attachment figures are equally important 
  • Multiple attachment model - there are no primary and secondary attachment figures, all attachments are integrated into one working model 

Grossman & Grossman

  • Relationships with siblings are important for learning how to negotiate with peers 
  • Relationships with fathers play key role in social development 

This contradicts Bowlby's theory of one monotrophic bond with the primary caregiver (mother) while other less important secondary bonds formed a heirachy 

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Types of attachment


  • Characterises those children who tend to avoid social interaction and intimacy with others 
  • Separation anxiety - shows no signs of distress when mother leaves
  • Stranger anxiety - okay with stranger and plays normally in their presence 
  • Reunion behaviour - shows little interest when mother returns
  • Other - mother and stranger able to comfort infant equally 
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Types of attachment


  • Characterises those children who both seek and reject intimacy and social interaction 
  • Separation anxiety - infant shows signs of intense distress 
  • Stranger anxiety - infant avoids stranger 
  • Reunion behaviour - child approaches mother but resists contact, may push/pull away
  • Other - infant cries more and explores less than other types of attachment 
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Attachment types


  • Strong and contented attachment of infant to their caregiver which develops due to sensitive responding of caregiver to infants needs
  • Comfortable with social interaction and intimacy, related to healthy cognitive and emotional development 
  • Separation anxiety - distressed when mother leaves
  • Stranger anxiety - stranger is able to offer some comfort
  • Reunion behaviour - infant runs to mother and greets her enthusiastically 
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Ugandan Study 

  • Initially preferred traditional learning theory but conducted two year naturalistic observation of mother-infant interactions in Uganda 
  • Participants were 26 mothers and their infants who lived in six villages surrounding Kampala
  • Observed some mothers were more sensitive to infants needs and tended to have securely attached infants - cried little and seemed content to explore in presence of there mother - secure base 
  • Learning theory couldnt explain importance of sensitivity in attachment but Bowlby's theory could 
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Baltimore Study 

  • Returned to America to study mother infant interactions in urban setting 
  • Observed 26 mothers and infants from birth in Balimore area - didnt use behaviour checklists as preferred to record rich details of observations 
  • Attachment relationship was assessed at 1 year old using STRANGE SITUATION  
  • Found mothers of infants classified as secure had behaved more sensitively with them during first 3 months of life 
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                                                 The Strange Situation 

Devised in order to test attachment nature systematically - aim was to see how infants behave under conditions of mild stress and novelty                                                                         Stress is created by: presence of stranger and separation from caregiver                                 Also tests secure base concept as places them in novel situation and encourages exploration 

Procedure consists of 8 episodes designed to highlight certain behaviours: 

  • Parent and infant play - no behaviour assessed 
  • Parent sits while infant plays - secure base assessed 
  • Stranger enters and talks to parent - stranger anxiety 
  • Parent leaves, infant plays and stranger offers comfort if needed - separation anxiety
  • Parent returns, greets infant, offers comfort if needed, stranger leaves - reunion behaviour 
  • Parent leaves, infant alone - separation anxiety 
  • Stranger enters and offers comfort - stranger anxiety 
  • Parent returns, greets infant and offers comfort - reunion behaviour 
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Evaluation of the strange situation

Main, Kaplan & Cassidy - Reliability - Support 

  • Tested babies at 18 months then retested them at 6 years old 
  • Found 100% of secure classified infants were still classified as secure, 75% of insecure-avoidant were still in this category 
  • This is known as re-testability and checks for consistency over time 

This suggests that the results obtained from the strange situation test are reliable, as the same results were gained over time - shows consistency 

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Evaluation of the strange situation

Sroufe - Validity - Support

  • Found that infants who were rated as secure went on to become more popular, have higher self-esteem and be social leaders 
  • This suggests the information produced by the strange situation is valid as it shows we can use the findings to predict the future stability of the childs relationships 
  • This shows its valid as a secure attachment has produced secure relationships later in life 
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Evaluation of the strange situation

Main & Weston - Measure of a relationship - Weakness 

  • Found children behaved differently depending on what parent they are with - suggests that classification of an attachment type may bot be valid
  • Argue that the strange situation only measures the relationship of the infant and another person (usually the mother) rather than measuring attachment 
  • This decreases the validity as the test isnt measuring what it claims to measure - this will affect the results and make them not true to the situation 


  • Bowlby argued the case for monotrophy which is the idea that there is only one primary attachment figure and all others are secondary attachments and of less importance anyway 
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Evaluation of the strange situation

Imposed etic - Weakness 

  • Test was devised by Ainsworth in the USA using American children therefore the test is culturally biased towards Western culture 
  • Desirable attachments in the US may be seen as not desirable elsewhere
  • This is example of imposed etic - create, test and construct theory in one culture and impose it on the rest of the world

Ethical issues - Psychological harm - Weakness

  • Intention of the strange situation is to cause distress - therefore is it ethical to cause distress to infants as this could cause psychological harm 
  • 20% of infants are reported to have cried desperately in episode six despire Ainsworth et al claiming the situation was no more distressing than everyday life 
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Evaluation of the strange situation

Prior & Glaser - Predictive validity - Support 

  • Demonstrated link between early attachment experience and later social functioning, this suggests the strange situation attachment classification can be used to predict the behaviour of children in later childhood - predictive validity 
  • Secure attachment is associated with positive outcomes such as less emotional dependence and higher acheivement orientation and interpersonal harmony 
  • Avoidant attachment related to later aggressiveness and generally negative effect 
  • Resistant attachement is associated with greater anxiety and withdrawn behaviour 
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Evaluation of the strange situation

Hazan & Shaver - Predictive validity - Support 

  • Able to predict later relationships as shown to be continuation of these attachment styles - mothers behaviour creates IWM of relationships that leads infant to expect the same in later relationships 
  • Proved this hypothesis with Love Quiz in newspaper
  • Quiz asked questions about early experiences to establish attachment type, about current love experiences and attitudes towards love to establish the IWM 
  • Found there were characteristic patterns of later romantic behaviour associated with early attachment type 
  • This supports Bowlby's theory of attachment and shows that the strange situation can be used to predict later relationship attitudes e.g. secure trust others and believe in enduring love whereas insecure resistant fall in love easily but have trouble finding true love 
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Cultural variations of attachment

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg 

  • Carried out a meta-analysis of 32 studies of the strange situation from a variety of different countries, it was based on the observation of over 2000 children      Findings 
  • They found that secure attachment type was the most common type of attachment 
  • The lowest amount of secure attachment was found in China and the highest in Great Britain 
  • Germany had the highest amount of insecure-avoidant attached children, this attachment was rare in Japan in Israel  
  • Japan and Israel had the highest proportion of inseucre-resistant whereas Great Brtiain and Sweden had the least                                                                  Concluded 
  • Caregiver and infant interactions are similar around the world  

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Evaluation of cultural variations

Evaluation of Van Ijzendoorn & Krooneberg

Weakness - Strange situation was created and tested in USA, this means it is culturally biased and will reflect the norms and values of American culture, it assumes behaviour has the same meaning across all cultures 

Weakness - Despite the large number of studies involved the majority of them were American (18/32), also only 5 of these were from collectivist cultures - this means data was culturally biased towards the Western culture and data was less valid and reliable

Weakness - Strange situation is culturally specific as separation anxiety could mean something different in other cultures e.g. Japanese infants are rarely separated from their mother so the strange situation is more distressing, this is interpreted as insecure attachment 

Strength - Used a large sample of studies making data more representative 

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Cultural variations of attachment

                                                                   Takahashi                                                   Used strange situation technique to study 60 middle class Japanese infants and thier mothers 


  • Found similar amount of securely attached infants to Ainsworth's study - 68%  
  • In contrast to the US study there was a high percentage of insecure-restiant (32%) and 0% insecure-avoidant 
  • Japanese children were very distressed when left alone, in 90% of cases the child became so distressed that the study was stopped 


  • There are cross cultural variations in how children behave when left alone 
  •  Japanese culture teaches avoidant behavour is impolite 
  • Japanese infants rarely separated from their mother - explains distress 

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Evaluation of cultural variations


Weaknesses - Lack of protection from psychological harm, this is an ethical issue, the children became so distressed in separation anxiety that majority of studies had to be stopped 

Weaknesses - only a small sample of 60 used so therefore the findings cannot be generalised as the results may not be representative 

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Cultural variations of attachment

Grossman & Grossman 

  • Found that German infants tended to be classified as insecurely attached rather than securely attached 
  • This may be due to different childrearing practices in the German culture
  • This includes keeping some interpersonal distance between parents in children - children dont engage in proximity seeking behaviours in the strange situation and appear to be insecurely attached 


  • Studied infants raised in Israeli kibbutzim who spent most of their time in a communal childrens home cared for by a nurse
  • Attachment was tested with the strange situation with either nurse or the mother 
  • Infants appeared equally attached to both except in reunion behaviour - showed greater attachment to mothers 
  • Suggests mothers were still PCG despite the shared care 
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Disruption of attachment

  • Refers to infant being separated from the caregiver after they have formed a attachment e.g. hospitalisation before being eventually reunited with their caregiver, this is referred to as deprivation (broken attachment)

Effects of deprivation -PDD model - Robertson & Bowlby  

  • Carried out on a child aged between 1-4 
  • PROTEST - child cries and calls for mother, panic is usual, can last for few hours to few weeks 
  • DESPAIR - child becomes apathetic (uninterested in things around them), cry occasionally and call for mother 
  • DETACHMENT - child cries less, is more interested in surroundings, onlookers may think child is getting over separation when they are really hiding their feelings, when mother returns child shows little interest/may be angry and reject mother - attachment is soon rebuilt  

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Disruption of attachment - research

The Robertsons - The famous five - Kate, Lucy, Thomas & Jane 

  • Four of the children all under the age of 5 were placed in foster care for few weeks with Robertsons while their mothers were in hospital 
  • Endeavoured to sustain high level of substitute emotional care and keep similar routines to their homelife 
  • Regular visits from father to maintain emotional link with home 
  • All children seemed to adjust,  showed some signs of distress e.g. Thomas rejected hugs 
  • Slept well and did NOT reject mother when reunited - some reluctant to part with foster mother demonstrating formation of good emotional bonds 
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Disruption of attachment - research

The Robertsons - famous five - John 

  • Placed into residential nursery for 9 days, father visited reguarly 
  • First 2 days - John behaves fairly normally 
  • After this - seeks attention from nurses but cant compete with other more assertive children, nurses friendly but too busy 
  • Seeks comfort from large teddy bear but isnt enough
  • Next few days - refuses food/drink, stops playing, cries and gives up trying to get nurses attention
  • Week 1 - greets father enthusiastically Week 2 - sits quietly, says nothing 
  • 9TH day - mother picks him up, John screams and struggles to get away 
  • Many months afterwards continued angry outburts towards mother 


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Support for the Robertson's

Skeels & Dye 

  • Found children placed into an institution scored poorly on IQ tests 
  • Some of these children transferred to home for mentally retarded adults
  • Retests showed that the childrens IQ tests had improved 
  • HYPOTHESIS - Adults with mental illnesses looked after childnre and provided missing emotional care

Skodak & Skeels 

  • Different infants placed in mentally retarded home and control group remained at orphanage
  • 1.5 years later - childrens IQ tests found:
  • Control group - fallen from 87 --> 61  Transfers - risen from 64 --> 92

Indicates disruption of attachment can have  negative effects, these can be avoided/reversed with alternative emotional care 

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Evalution of the Robertson's

Research is high in validity

  • Films were naturalistic observations (real life events in realistic setting) 
  • Observation designed to avoid observer bias - others can inspect and check 

Research is based on case studys

  • Conclusions of the study are based on case studies of only a few children -  appropiate to assume all children behave in the same way 

Research lacks population validity 

  • Only a small sample of the population used therefore it is not representative of the whole population
  • Children may have distinctive characteristics to differentiate from population e.g. british from urban background 

Research provides rich, detailed qualitative data 

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Privation - Lack of having any attachments due to the failure to develop such attachments during early life 

Curtiss - Genie 

  • Found at age 13, locked in a room by her father as he thought she was mentally ill 
  • She was punished if she spoke 
  • When she was found she had appearance of 6/7 year old, could not stand straight up, could not speak - described as 'unsocialised, primative and hardly human' 
  • Mistreated by doctors and psychologists - more interested in their careers than Genie's welfare 
  • Never acquired full language skills or adapted socially 

This is a case study and we have no way of knowing whether Genie was brain damaged at birth or effected by privation, brain damage could explain her lack of progress 

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Koluchova - The Czech twins

  • PM and JM were identical male twins, mother died in birth - spent 11 months in childrens home, then reared by father and stepmother 
  • Father of low intellect, Stepmother treated twins brutally, kept in small closet/cellar 
  • Discovered at age of 7 - speech was poor and had rickets (poor diet, deficient in vit. D) and could not walk 
  • Adopted by two sisters and well cared for, retest at 14 - no long term ill effects, both found employment and 'enjoyed warm relationships' 

Appears that given favourable care the effects of privation can be reversed, a near full recovery from privation is possible 

Reasons Genie did not recover: may have been brain damaged, discovered at later age, reared alone whereas twins had each other, twins received better care after being found

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Problems with case studies


Genies mother sued the psychologists for excessive and outrageous testing - lack of informed consent and possible psychological harm

However.. Psychologists have a double-obligation dilemma - duty to carry out research in this area but also duty of care to participant 


Provide detailed and intimate information about particular condition and its causes 

Involve patients who have been exposed to unique conditions and suffer unique symptoms - difficult to generalise findings to others or come up with theory 

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Institutionalized privation

Hodges & Tizard 

  • 65 children in care home assessed over 16 year period, participants in the study were all 16 and had been in institutional care up to age 4 
  • Unable to form attachments due to high turn over of staff - 24 carers by 2 yrs old 
  • At 4 yrs old - 25 returned to biological parents, 33 adopted, 7 remained - IV 
  • Methods used to collect data: interview with adolescent, interview with mother, self report questionnaire, questionnaire completed by teacher, Rutter 'B' scale ( identifies psychiatric problems such as depression ) 

Adopted children - 17/21 deeply attached, 1/2 restored children deeply attached, adopted more attached to father than restored                                                                   Ex-insitutional children had greater problems with siblings                                                 No differences regarding contact with the opposite sex                                                     Ex-institutional children had poorer relationships with peers                                             Teachers - Ex-institutional children were quarrelsome, less liked, bullies 

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Institutionalized privation

Hodges & Tizard - Conclusion 

  • Children deprived of close/lasting attachments in early years can make attachments later dependent on adult nuturement 
  • Why adoptive children are more likely to overcome problems caused by instituionalisation: financial situation of adoptive parents, fewer children to care for, highly motivated to have child/develop relationship with child
  • Biological parents - more ambivalent about child living with them 


High in ecological validity as natural experiment                                                                 Little control over extraneous variables e.g. adoption due to better social skills and not random process, ones with most problems to remain in care  - results due to temperament of child not due to type of care                                                                   Attrition - not all starting participants continue to end, 51/65 questioned at age 8 - ones left may not be representative of the orginal sample 

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Institutionalized privation

Rutter et al - Romanian orphans 

  • 111Romanian orphans adopted into British families - to test whether good care would compensate for privation the children had suffered 
  • Age of adoption was the naturally occuring IV 
  • Study of 3 groups: adopted before 6 months, adotped between 6 months - 2 years, adopted after age of two
  • Age of 6 - children making good recoveries
  • Those adopted after two years had a much  higher level of disinhibited attachment 
  • Age of 11 - some children had made recoveries but half of those diagnosed with condition at age 6 still had it 

Evaluation - same as Hodges & Tizard 

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Effects of institutionalisation

Effects of institutionalisation

Attachment disorder:Disinhibited attachment - children select attachment figures indiscriminately and behave in overly familar way with strangers, caused by long periods in institutional care at early age, often have other behavioural disorders e.g. attention seeking

Attachment disorder:Reactive detachment disorder - extreme lack of sensitive responsiveness can lead to child growing up unable to trust/love others, become isolated, selfish and unable to understand needs of others - can become sociopathic without conscience 

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Effects of institutionalisation

Deprivation dwarfism - children in institutional care are usually physically small, suggestion is that lack of emotional care rather than poor nourishment is the case  Gardener -                                                                                                                    Child born with malformation had to be fed through a tube, mother never picked      up/cuddled her for fear of dislodging the tube                                                                      8 months old - child withdrawn and physically stunted so admitted to hopsital                  Thrived on attention, soon returned to normal - no changes in diet                                  Suggests that emotional disturbance may affect the production of hormones such as growth hormones                                                                                                  Examples of institutionalisation - hospitalisation, orphanage - long period of time in care

Evaluation:  lack of informed consent and possible psychological harm, psychologists have a double-obligation dilemma, detailed and intimate information about particular condition and its causes, unique patients - difficult to generalise findings to others or come up with theory 

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Effects of institutionalisation

Quinton et al - Poor Parenting 

  • Compared a group of 50 women who had been reared in institutions with a control group of 50 women reared at home 
  • Women in 20's - ex-institutional women were experiencing extreme difficulties acting as parents 
  • More of the ex-institutional parents had children who spent time in care 


  • Extraneous variables - cannot control extraneous variables such as the influence of poor parenting models they experienced growing up - this may explain their poor parenting later in life 
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Day Care definitions

Social development - the aspect of a childs growth concerned with the development of sociability - the child learns to relate to others, and the process of socialisation where the child acquires knowledge and skills appropriate to society 

Day care - form of temporary care, not given by family members/someone well known to the child and usually outside the home 

Peer relations - social relationships(including  romantic relationships) with your peers - the people equal to you in terms of age, social status, geographical location etc 

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Impact of daycare on social development: attachmen

Belsky & Rovine 

  • Support for Bowlby's theory of permament harm 
  • If child is in daycare for more than 4 months before the age of 1 they are more likely to develop insecure attachments 
  • Sroufe et al - children shouldnt be placed into daycare until at least 1 year old 

Clarke-Stewart et al

  • 500 children - children receiving up to 30hrs a week were no more distressed than children who received lower intensity day care - assessed using strange situation 

Roggman et al 

  • Compared children who attended day care before the age of 1 with those who stayed at home - no difference in attachment with mothers
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Impact of daycare on social development: aggressio

Vandell & Corasaniti - negative impact                                                                       8yr olds who spent most of early years in day care = non compliant according to teachers and parents 

Support - Belsky - negative impact                                                                              Long periods of day care before 5 can increase aggressive behaviour in later childhood 

Borge et al - positive impact                                                                                         Questionnaire study, 3000 Canadian children comparing day care children with those raised at home                                                                                                                  Mothers asked to rate children e.g. frequency of hitting, biting and reaction after hurting someone                                                                                                               Children kept at home are likely to be more aggressive - Those kept at home more likely to be from disadvantaged backgrounds, Self - report questionnaire 

Clarke-Stewart - no impact                                                                                           Argue that what V & C report as aggressiveness could be higher confidence/assert

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Impact of daycare on social development: peer rela

Shea - positive impact                                                                                             Videotaped children in day nursery, compared behaviours of those attending for different lengths of time                                                                                                        Children who attended more reguarly = more sociable/active - made conversation and contact with others, increase was most obivous in those attending day care most often  Suggests correlation - time spent in day care and sociability 

Clarke-Stewart et al - positive impact                                                                            Increased time in day care sped up social development, children who spent more time in daycare learned social skills at an earlier age 

Sroufe et al - negative impact                                                                                         Support for Bowlby's continuity hypothesis, those forming secure relationships with parents were more likely to form close attachments with others later in life                      Daycare increases chance of insecure attachments - negative impact on peer relations later in life 

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Evaluation of research

The research is correlational - This means causal relationships and cause and effect cant be determined, we cant say that day care causes aggression 

Other factors influence development - There are other factors beside daycare that influence social development, aggression and peer relations such as temperament 

Individual differences - research doesnt consider the ability of individual differences to cope with daycare, some children can cope with day care better than others 

Inconsistent research regarding length of time - this makes it difficult to interpret whether daycare has a positive or negative effect 

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Improving daycare

What consistutes good care:

Verbal interaction - between child and carer, although VI between parent and child is more complex and beneficial as they can provide undivided attention 

Sensitive responsiveness - according to NICHD is the most important factor - discovered 23% provided highly sensitive care, 20% were emotionally detached 

Consistency of care - low staff turnover - opportunity for children to form attachments with caregivers 

Well qualified staff - Sylva et al found it was particuarly important for the daycare manager to be well trained 

Low child/staff ratios - NICHD recommend no more than 3 children to 1 carer

Educational toys - help to improve childs cognitive development 

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