Attachment

  • Created by: jp3louis
  • Created on: 23-01-17 12:44

CG interactions

Reciprocity - How 2 people interact like responding to signals/

From around 3 months, interaction becomes more frequent and involves close attention to each others verbal signals and facial expressions. A key element to this is reciprocity.

Interactional synchrony - Mother and infant reflect both the actions and emotions of the other.

Meltzoff and Moore observed the starts of interactional synchrony from 2 weeks old. An adult displayed a facial expression (1 of 3) and the childs response was filmed and identified by independent observers. An assocaition was found between both.

Interactional synchrony is improtant for the development of mother-infant attachment. Isabella et al observed 30 mothers and infants and assessed the degree of synchrony. They also assesed the quality of mother-infant attachment and found high levels of synchrony were associated with better quality relationships.

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Attachment figures

Parent- infant attachment

Schaffer and Emerson found that the majority of babies did become attached to mums first (around 7 months) and within a few weeks/months become secondary att. to other. In 75% of the infants studied, an att. was formed to the dad within 18 months. This was determined by the fact the infant protested when the dad walked away.

The role of the Dad

Grossman carried out a longitudinal study looking at both parents behaviour and its relationship to quality of childrens att. into their teens. Quality of infant att. to mums but not dads was related to childrens att. in adolescence (suggesting the dads att. was less important). However, the quality of the dads play with infants was linked to quality of adolescent attachments. This suggests the dad plays/ stimulates the child rather than nuture.

Dads as primary carers

Field filmed 4 month babies in face to face interaction with primary c/g mums, secondary c/g dads and primary c/g dads. Primary c/g dads, like mums spent more time smiling, imitating and holding infants than the secondary c/g. The key to attachment is the level of response not the gender.

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CG interactions evaluation

Hard to know what infants are actuallly doing:

We base these observations on movements or expressions and this means its incredibly difficult to be certain what is taking place from the infants perspective.This means we cannot really know for certain that behaviours seen in mother-infant interactions have special meanings.

Controlled observations capture fine detail

observations of mother-infant interactions is well controlled with both the mother and infant being filmed from various angles. This ensures that fine details can be recorded and analysed. Infants don't actually know what is going on either so their behaviour does not changed to controlled observation. This is a strength as it has good validity.

Observations dont tell us the purpose of synchrony and reciprocity

Feldman points out synchrony (and by implication reciprocity) describe behaviours that occur at the same time. They are reliably observed but do not actually tell us their purpose. However, there is evidence that reciprocal interaction and synchrony are helpful in the development of mother-infant attachment.

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Attachment figures evaluation

Inconsistent findings on dads

Different researchers are interested in different research questions. Some psychologists are interested in understanding the role of the dad as a secondary att. whereas others are concerned with the dad being the primary att figure. This is a limitation because it means psychologists cannot easily answer a simple question 'what is the role of the father.'

If dads have a distinct role why aren't children without dads different?

The study conducted by Grossman found that dads as secondary att figures had an important role in their childrens development. However, other studies by MacCallum and Golombok have found chidren growing up in single/same sex families don't develop any differently. This suggests the dad as a secondary att figure is not important.

Why don't dads generally become primary att?

Traditional gender roles - mum expected to be nurturing. Therefore dads feel they should act different. It could be oestrogen create higher levels of nurturing so women are pre-disposed to be the primary att. figure

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Schaffers stages of attachment

Involved 60 babies - 31 males, 29 female. All from Glasgow - from working class families.

The babies and mothers were visited at home every month for the 1st year and at 18 months. The researcher asked the mum questions about the protest the babies showed in 7 everyday seperations. This was designed to measure the infants attachment. The researcher also assessed stranger anxiety.

They found that babies between 25 -32 weeks (50%) showed seperation anxiety( or called specific att.) By 40 weeks, 80% babies had a specific attachement and 30% showed multiple att.#

Stage 1: Asocial stage (first few weeks)

Stage 2: Indiscriminate attachment (2-7 months)

Stage 3: Specific attachement (7 months)

Stage 4: Multiple attachments

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Evaluation of schaffers stages of attachment (The

Carried out in families own homes and most of the observations was actually done by parents. This means that the behaviour of babies was unlikely to be affected by the presence of observers. There is a great chance that the babies behaved naturally and so we can say this study has good external validity.

A strength of this study is that it is carried out longitudinally. This means the same children were observed. The quicker alternative would be to observe different children at each age. This is called cross-sectional design. However longitudinal design have better internal validity as they dont have confounding variables of individual differebces between participants (participant variables).

The sample size was 60 babies. This was good amount but all the families involved were from the same district and social class is a limitation. Child-rearing practices vary from culture to culture so these results don't generlise well to other contexts.

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Evaluation of schaffers stages of attachment (the

They described the first few weeks as the asocial stage. The problem is babies that are that young, have poor co-ordination and are generally pretty much imobile. It is therefore difficult to make any judgments about them based on observations of their behaviour. This does not mea the child's feelings and cognitions are not highly social but the evidence cannot be relied on.

Although there is no doubt children can make multiple att. they dont know when. Some research indicates that most babies form attachments to a single main carer before they can make multiple attachments. Other psychologists (particulary those who work in cultural contexts) where multiple CG are the normal, babies form multiple att from the outset. Such cultures are called collectivisit because the family works together. This is limitation as its conflicting evidence on multiple att.

There may be a problem with how multiple att is assessed. Just because a baby gets distressed when its mum leaves does not mean the person is a true att. Bowlby saw that children have playmates as well as true att figures and may get distressed when a playmate leaves but this does not signify att. This is a problem for the stages as their observation does not leave us a way to distinguish between behaviour shown towards secondary att figures and shown towards playmates.

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Animal studies of attachment - Lorenz's research

Lorenz's research - found imprinting. He divided a clutch of goose eggs. Half the eggs were hatched with the mum. The other half hatched in an incubator where the 1st moving object they saw was lorenz. They found that the incubator group followed lorenz everywhere whereas the control group followed the mum. This is the phenomenon is called imprinting. Lorenz identified the critical period in which imprinting needs to take place. If imprinting does not occur in the critical periodm then no attachment can occur.

He also observed that birds who imprinted on a human would often display courtship behaviour towards humans. Lorenz described a peacock that had been reared in the reptile house of a zoo where the first moving thing it saw was giant tortoises. As an adult the peacock sexually imprinted on the tortois.

You cannot generalise the findings from birds to humans - it seems the mammalian att system is quite different from birds. Mamals have more emotional att. This means they cant generalise.

There is some skepticism of lorenzs studies like the idea that imprinting has a permanent effect. Guiton et al found that chickens imprinted on yellow washing up gloves would try to mate with them as adults (as lorenz would predicted) but they still prefered mating with other chickens. This suggests that the impact of imprinting on mating behaviour is not as permanent as lorenz predicted.

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Animal studies of attachment- Harlows research

Rhesus monkeys. Harlow observed that newborns kept alone in a bare cage usually died but if they had something soft (like a cloth), they survived.Harlow tested the idea that a soft object serves some of the functions of a mother. He reared 16 baby monkeys with 2 wire model mums. In one condition milk was dispensed by the plain wire mother whereas in the 2nd condition is was dispensed by a cloth figure.The baby monkeys cuddled the soft mum in preference to the wire one regardless of which dispensed milk. This shows that contact comfort was of more importance to the monkeys than food when it came to attachment.

Harlow et al also followed the monkeys that had been deprived of the real mum into adulthood to see if this early maternal deprivation had a permanent effect. They found severe consequences. The monkeys reared with wire mums only were most dysfunctional. They were more aggresive and less sociable than the other monkeys. They bred less and beind unskilled at mating. They neglected their young and attacked them/killed them.Like lorenz, there was a critical period for this behaviour. 90 days usualy for an att to form.

Harlow showed that att does not develop from a feeder but as contact comfort.Showed importance of early relationships for later life relationships.

Harlows researched helped social workers understand child neglect. But there was ethical issues

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Explanations of att :Learning theory

Dollard and Miller said that caregiver - infant attachment can be explained by learning theory. - the cupboard love' approach.

Classical conditioning - Involves 2 stimuli together so that we begin to respond to 1 in the same way as we already respond to the other. In attachment, food is the unconditoned stimulus. Being fed gives plesure so its now an unconditioned response. A c/g is a neutral stimulus. When the c/g gives food, they are associated with the food so the c/g becomes the conditoned stimulus. Once conditioning has taken place, the sight of the c/g produces a conditioned response of plesure.

Operant conditioning involves learning to repeat behaviour (or not) depending its consequences. If a behaviour has positive consequences, that behaviour will be repeated. The behaviour has been reinforced. Can explain why babies cry for comfort. Crying leads to a response from the c/g so as long as the c/g gives the right response the baby will cry whenever they need anything. If the baby is negatively reinforced then they won't cry to get attention.

Learning theory also draws on the concept of drive reduction. Hunger is a primary drive (as it's innate, biological motivator) Sears et al suggested that as c/g give food, the primary drive of hunger becomes generalised to them. Attachment is thus a secondary drive learned by association between the c/g and the satisfaction of a primary drive.

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Explanations of Att: Bowlby's monotropic theory

Monotropic - A term to describe Bowlby's theory. The mono means 1 and indicates that 1 particular att is different from all others and of central importance to the child's development.

Internal working models - The mental representations we all carry with us of our attachment to our primary c/g. They are important in affecting our future relationships because they carry our perception of what relationships are like.

Believed attachment was innate. It was called monotropic because he placed great emphasis on a child's att to 1 c/g and he belived the att with this c/g was different and more important. Bowlby suggested that babies are born with a set of innate 'cute' behaviours like smiling/cooing. He called these social releasers because its purpose is to activate the adult att system. It is a reciprocal process. He proposed there is a critical period around 2 years when the infant att system is active.

Bowlby proposed that a child forms a mental reprensentation of their relationship with there pc/g. This is called an internal working model because is a model for what future relationships are like. If they have a loving relationship, they should had loving relationships. They should also be good parents. 

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Explanation of attachment: learning theory evaluat

A range of animal studies has shown that young animals don't imprint those who feed them. Lorenzes geese imprinted before they were fed and maintained them attachments regardless of who fed them. Harlows monkeys attached to a soft surrogate in preference to a wire one that fed it. In both studies attachment does not develop from feeding so the same is for humans.

Research with human infants shows feeding does not appear to be an important factor in humans. Schaffer and Emerson study shows babies developed a primary attachment to their biological mum even though the carers did most of the feeding. Limitation as they show that feeding is not the key element to attachment and so there is no unconditioned stimulus or primary drive.

Research into early infant-c/g interaction suggests that the quality of att is assocaited with factors like developing reciprocity and good levels of interactional synchrony (isabella et al) Studdies have shown that the best quality attachments are with sensitive carers that pick up infant signals and respond appropriately. Its hard to reconcile these findings with the idea of cupboard love. If att developed just from feeding, there would be no purpose for complex interactions and we wouldn't expect to find relationships between them and the quality of infant-c/g interactions

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Explanations of Att: Bowlby's monotropic theory ev

Bowlby believed that babies generally formed one att to their pc/g and that this att was special. Only after this att was established could a child form multiple att. This is not supported by schaffer and emerson as they found most babies did attach to one person first but they also found that a significant minority appeared to form multiple att at the same time. Its also unclear if there is something special from the first att as studies of att to mum and dad tend to show att to the mum is more important in predicting later behaviour. However, this could mean that att to the pc/g is just stronger than the others, not necessarily that it is different in quality

There is clear evidence to show that cute infant behaviours are intended to iniate social interaction and that doing so is important to the baby. Brazleton et al observed mum and babies during their interactions, reporting the existence of interactional synchrony. The study was extended rom an observation to an experiment. P att figures were instructed to ignore their babies signals - in bowlbys terms, to ignore their social releases. The babies initially showed some distress but, when the att figure continued to ignore the baby, some responded by curling up and lying motionless. Where children responded so strongly it supports bowlbys idea about the signicance of infant social behaviour in eliciting c/g.

Idea of Working models is testable because it predicts that patterns of att will be passed on from 1 generation to the next.Bailey et al tested 99 mum with 1 year old babies on their quality of att with their mum using a interview. They also researched the att of babies to their mums by observation. It was found that the mums who had poor att to their own parents were more likely to have children classified as poor according to observerations. This supports Bowlby as an internal working model was passed through the families.

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Ainsworths strange situation

To be able to observe key attachment behaviours as a means of assessing the quality of a childs attachment to a caregiver.

The ** is a controlled observation designed to measure the security of att a child displays towards a c/g. The behaviours used to judge att include: Proximity seeking (infant with good att will stay close to c/g) , Exploration and secure-base behaviour, stranger anxiety, separation anxiety, response to reunion. 

The procedure had 7 episodes and lasted 3 minutes each. Child was encouraged to explore - tests exploration/secure base. Stranger comes in and tries to interact with child - tests stranger anxiety. C/g leaves the child and stranger - Tests seperation/stranger anxiety. C/g returns + stranger leaves - tests reunion behaviour/exploration/secure base. C/G leaves the child alone - tests seperation anxiety. Stranger returns - Tests stranger anxiety. C/g returns and is reunited with child - tests reunion behaviour.

Findings - Secure attachment - Explore happily but go back to c/g, Moderate separation distress and moderate stranger anxiety. 60-75% of biritish children are secure.Insecure-avoidant attachment - Explore freely but don't seek proximity or show secure base behaviour Little reaction when c/g leaves and little response when c/g returns. Little stranger anxiety. 20-25%. Insecure-resistant - seek greater proximity so explore less. Huge stranger and seperation distress but resist comfort from carer. 3%

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Cultural variations in attachment

Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg - study to look at proportions of secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure - resistant attachments. They looked at different countries.

The researchers located 32 studies of attachment where the ** had been used to investigate the proportions of infants with different attachment types. 32 studies were conducted in 8 countries; 15 were in the USA. Overall the 32 yielded results for 1,990 children. The data for the 32 studies were meta-anaylsed, results being combined and weighted for sample size.

Findings- There was wide variations between the proportions of attachment types in different studies. In all countires secure attachment was the most common. However, the proportion varied from 75% in Britain to 50% in China. Insecure-resistant was overall the least common type although the proportions ranged from 3% in Britain to around 30% in Israel. Insecure-avoidant attachments were seen mostly in Germanly and least commonly in Japan. An interesting factor was that variations between results of studies within the same country were actually 150% greater than those between countries. In the US, for example, one study found only 46% securely attached compared to one sample as high as 90%

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Ainsworths strange situation evaluation

Attachment type is strongly predictive of later development. Babies assessed as secure type typically go on to have better outcomes in many areas, ranging from success at school to romantic relationships and friendships in adulthood. Insecure-resistant attachment is associated with the worst utcomes including bullying and adult mental health (ward et al). Evidence for validity of the concept as it can explain subsequent outcomes.

Shows very good inter-rater reliability. Different observers watching the same children generally aggreed on what attachment type to classify the children. This is because it takes place under controlled conditions and because the behavioural categories are easy to observe. Bick et al looked at inter-rater reliability in term of the ** observers and found agreement on att type for 94% of the tested babies. Shows we can be confident that the att type of an infant in the ** does not just depend on whos observing them.

Theres debates that the ** is a culture-bound test. Cultural differences in childhood experiences are likely to mean that children respond differently to the **. C/g from different cultures behave differently in the **. Takahashi has noted that the test does not work in japan as japanese mums are rarely seperated from their young so their is high levels of seperation anxiety. In the reunion stage, japanese mums rushed to the baby and scooped them up, meaning the child's response was hard to observe

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Other studies of cultural variations

Simonella et al conducted a study in Italy - see whether proportions of babies of different attachment types still matches those found in previous studies. Researchers assessed 76 12 month olds using the **. 50% were secure, 36% insecure- avoidant. This is a lower rate of secure attachment which has been found on many studies. Researchers suggest this is because an increasing number of mothers of very young children work long hours and use professional childcare. These findings suggest that cultural changes can make dramatic difference to patterns of secure and insecure attachment.

Jin et al conducted a study in Italy - comparing the proportions of attachment types in Kprea to other stuudies. The ** was used to assess 87 kids. Overall proportions of insecure and secure babies were similar to those in most countries, with most being secure. However, more of those were classified as insecurely attached were resistant and only 1 child was avoidant. This distribution is similar to the distribution of attachment types found in Japan (Ijkzendoorn and Kroonenberg). Since Japan and Korea have similar child-rearing styles, this similarity might be explained in terms of child-rearing style.

Conclusion - secure attachment seems to be the norm in a wide range of cultures, supporting Bowlby's idea that attachment is innate and universal and this type is the universal norm. However, the research also clearly shows that cultural practices have an influence on attachment type.

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Evaluation of cultural variations

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