AS Psychology Unit 3: Child Development: Social Development:

<p>First Part: Early Relationships</p>

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  • Created on: 17-01-10 21:25

Early Relationships:

Attachment and interactions used in the development of attachment:

Study 1)

Aim: Melzoff and Moore (1977) investigated imitation of facial expressions in 2- and 3-week old infants.

Method: Infants were shown 3 facial expressions, and one hand movement involving fingers. A dummy was placed in the mouth during the modelling of the behaviour. The dummy was immediately removed and all responses and behaviours were recorded, people when then asked to rate the likeliness of the modelling to the imitation.

Result: Significant association between the models behaviour and the infant’s behaviour, with the infants being able to imitate specific facial expressions or hand movements.

Conclusion: Very young infants will spontaneously imitate facial and hand movements of adult models. The same effect was later demonstrated in infants of less that 3 days old.

NB; Imitation, Motherese (High and low pitch voice tones)

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Function of Attachment

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Harlow's Study on Function of Attachments:

Aim: Harlow studied the behaviour of separated monkeys from the mothers at birth to test the effect.

Method: Infant monkey taken from their mothers and kept with two fake mother’s one ‘cloth mother’ and one ‘food mother’ incorporated a feeding bottle. These monkeys were kept like this for a period of time, and were then released with other normally brought up.

Results: Infant monkey spend time close to their cloth mothers. When returned to the other monkeys they showed signs of inappropriate social behaviour e.g. aggression and inability to form relationships, made very poor mothers.

Conclusion: The study showed that physical comforts are more important than attachment for food, and that lack of attachment results in anti-social behaviour.

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  • Darwin theory of evolution suggest that all species are genetically related in some way, but experiments have to be done to be able to compare them, it is suggested that humans relate to monkeys, however it can still be argued that humans work in a much more complex way than monkeys.
  • It is unethical and it causes distress to the monkeys, however, this was the only way to determine cause and effect as it is not possible to carry out this research on real beings. It is also key to mention his findings have been a great contribution to the understanding off attachments.
  • This study supports Bowlby’s theory of attachment.
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The Internal Working Memory Model

this is mental model that allows the child to have an internal representation of the relationship with the primary caregiver, this allows the child to make future interactions and relationships easy. The child’s earliest relationship will set the scenes for all the ones that follow.

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Evaluation of The IWMM ^^

  • Though a good idea, the model is too general to be useful.
  • Very pessimistic view, suggesting that if your first relationship was an unhappy one then all the following future relationships would be the same.
  • It combines more than one area of psychology into it e.g. cognitive (understanding of attachment) behaviourist (behaviours that are re-warding are likely to be repeated)
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Measuring Attachment

The Strange Situation Study:

Aim: Ainsworth et al studied the reaction of young children when separated briefly from their parents, in order to determine the nature of attachment and types.

Method: Using a controlled observational laboratory infants were exposed to 3 minute episodes. The infant and mother were shown the observation room and then left; a stranger would then walk in and start having a brief conversation with the mother. The mother would then leave quietly leaving the stranger in the room for 3 minutes. If the child became to distress the mother would return sooner. The behaviours were recorded trough out.

Results: From this Ainsworth classified infants as securely attached, anxious avoidant or anxious- resistant. In the U.S Aprox 65% were found to be secure, while 15-20% in the other two.

Conclusion: a) there are different types of attachment and differentiated types of observed attachment behaviour. B) the type of attachment between mother and infant is dependent upon the mothers sensitivity and responsiveness.

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The Types!:

Anxious avoidant- ignores mother, not fussed when leaves, easily comforted by stranger.

Secure- happy with mothers presents, gets distressed when mums leaves, happy again once mum returns

Anxious resistant- fussy, cries a lot, cries when she leaves, cries on return, resists stranger.

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Evaulation of The Types:

  • Normal secure infants are found to be happy exploring their surroundings, and do not normally need close proximity to their mother. Though it could be argued that proximity seeking is a sign of insecurity rather than a sign of security.
  • Rejects wider influences on attachments e.g. the temperament of the child, parent’s background and health. Some researchers suggest it’s the baby’s temperament that affects attachment not the mother’s behaviour.
  • The fixed category system is oversimplified, and would be more sensible to consider it a 2D construct. The first being proximity seeking; the degree to which the child maintains proximity. The second being emotional confidence; the Childs emotional responses to the attachment figure.
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The effects of Deprivation and Privation:


Protest- Crying and struggling à Despair= Quiet crying= Very unhappy à Period of Detachment= Unconcerned when career returns= Resent+ disconcern.

Shaffer (1996) Suggest reasons for variations:

Individual’s characteristics & problems are more likely:

· Is male (early childhood is more problematic for males, were as Adolescence’s is for female)

· Has a ‘difficult’ temperament.

· Suffers family conflict.

· Parents= psychologically unavailable.

· Repeated separation.

However, Long term effects are difficult to determine.

Suggested that anxiety occurs with the thought it might happen again à obvious= clingy/agressive

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Aim: Belsky- Effects of day care on attachment.

Method: Taken from a number of previous studies, information involved time per week child spent in non-maternal care, and information about their attachments.

Results: out of 464: 26% less than 20 hours per week in care= secure attachments

41% more than 20 hours per week in care= insecure attachments.

Conclusion: More than 20hours per week in non-maternal care has a negative effect on attachment security (especially under 1’s)

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Can also be a key cause of separation anxiety Shaffer 1996 concluded several factors that can reduce these effects:

· Regular contact.

· Reduced parent conflict.

· Parent who has custody is actually able to provide and look after the child.

· Avoidance of Disruption on the Childs day to day life

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Not possible to understand fully= Ethical reasons

  • Many studies/ information come from research that has been found from neglected children e.g. Genie (Curtiss)


Aim: Koluchova (1991) twin studies: Twin-boys whom suffered severe privation in early childhood (18months- 7 years) were locked in cellar.

Method: Longitudinal study- assessed over 22 years on their intellectual/social abilities.

Results: Aged 7= No speech, malnutrition, total lack of social ability.

Aged 10= Attending mainstreams schools, Average IQ, normal attachment levels.

Follow up study= Total recovery, Married, Own families

Conclusion: Affects of privation can be overcome with due care and attention

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Romanian orphan studies:

Rutter et al (1998)

111 Romanian orphans in very poor conditions.

Method: Head height/ Head circumference/ General cognitive level were all measured, compared to that of 52 British adoptees.

It was suggest that Romania was going to be responsible for negative effects.

Results: Romanian= Intellectual deficits/ underweight

British= No negative effects.

Conclusion: (a) Can be overcome by due care and attention.

(b) Separation from mother alone is not sufficient to cause negative outcomes.

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Romanian orphan Evaluation!!:

· Not all children showed catch up equivalent to that of UK adoptees, they did show significant improvement to that of non-adopted peers.

· The extent of human contact, and the rate they were treated at were varied in all cases, this mediated the effects.

· Questions raised about Rutter’s original findings, the effects appear to be less positive if the child is treated after the age of 6 months.

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Bowlby's theory of attachment:

· One main attachment/ monotropy theory, there has to be a primary bond.

· First two years are most important in creating attachment (Critical period).

· If separation occurs in the ‘Critical period’ there will be long term, irreversible damage, leading to- Delinquency, and Affectionless Psycohopathy and Intellectual retardation in future life.


Aim: Bowlby’s theory of attachment to explain delinquency.

Method: 44 Juvenile thief’s whom showed symptoms of affectionless psycohopathy were interviewed at a clinic and were asked about their behaviour, childhood experiences, individual family members were also interviewed.

Results: Out of the 44, 12 of which were suffering Affectionless psycohopathy had been separated for mothers during the critical period. Others had experienced some kind of privation/deprivation.

Conclusion: Delinquency is linked to childhood maternal deprivation, however is retrospective and interviewees may not remember accurately, making the data unreliable.


· Shaffer and Emerson criticised the idea of monotropy. Children’s development to one strong attachment but it is due to those who are most responsive to the Childs needs e.g. this can be seen in societies were infant child care is shared.

· Rutter argues there is no cause and effect between delinquency and maternal deprivation. Consideration of other variables is needed e.g. reasons for separation.

· Role of father

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Van Ijzendoorn

Compared 32 strange situation studies from 8 countries.

Germany:- More anxious advoidant types

Isreal and Japan:- More anxious resistant.

Different childhood-rearing practises affect the type of attachment.

Found only a weak link between movers sensitivity and security of attachment

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Fyzah :p

Thanks ^_^

This is really good :D

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