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Caregiver-infant interactions

Reciprocity - a description of how two people interact, mother-infant interaction is reciprocal as both mother and infant respond to eachothers signals and elict a response from the other. Mothers tend to respond to infant alertness around 2/3 of the time (Feldman and Eidelman). This interaction tends to be frequent aaround 3 moths and involves smiling and verbal signals in order to get a response from the other. Baazleton et al. said both mother and child can initiate interactions.

Interactional synchrony - mother and infant reflect actions/emotions of other in a synchronised way. Meltzoff and Moore observed this in children as young as 2 weeks old. Iaabella et al. found that high levels of synchrony is associated with better quality mother-infant attachment.

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Evaluation of caregiver-infant interactions

Hard to know what's happening when obeserving infants - infants imitation might not be conscious and deliberate.

Controlled observations capture fine detail - good validity because babies don't know/care that they're being observed.

Observations don't tell the purpose of synchrony and reciprocity - just observations, purpose not entierly understood.

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Attachment figures

Parent-infant attachment - Schaffer and Emerson; majority of babies become attached to mothers first(around 7 moths), and later form secondary attachments. 75% of infants studied form secondary attachment with father by 18 months.

The role of the father - Grossman; longitudinal study on parents behaviour and their quality of attachment to their teens. Attachment to fathers is less important, but fathers may have another role; play and stimulation.

Fathers as primary caregivers - Field; fathers as primary caregivers adopt attachment behaviour more typical of mothers (smiling, imitating, holding).

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Evaluation of attachment figures

Inconsistent findings on fathers -  some psychologists are more intrested in father as secondary attachment figure, others as primary attachment figure. Makes the role of the father unclear and confusing.

If fathers have a distinct role why aren't children without fathers different? -  Grossman's findings contradict MacCallum and Golombok's findings; children with no father don't develop any differently.

Why don't fathers generally become primary attachments - may be due to traditional gender roles, or biological differences e.g. hormones like oestrogen create higher levels of nurturing.

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Schaffer's stages of attachment

Schaffer and Emerson's study - mother's of 60 Glasgow babies reported signs of separation anxiety and stanger anxiety. Between 25-32 weeks old most babies showed separation anxiety towards a particular adult (a specific attachment) - this tended to be the caregiver who was most interactive. By 40 weeks 80% of babies had specific attachments, 30% had formed multiple attachments.

Stages of Attachment -

1) Asocial stage (first few weeks) - little observable social behaviour

2) Indiscriminate stage - accepts comfort from any adult

3) Specific attachment - stranger anxiety and separation anxiety for one adult

4) Multiple attachments - forms secondary attachments

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Evaluation of Schaffer's stages of attachment

Good external validity - observations were in participants natural environments.

Longitudinal design - a cross-sectional design would've been faster, but this design has better internal validity as there are no confounding variables of individual differences.

Limited sample characteristics - all families from same district and social group; doesn't generalise well to other social and historical contexts.

Problem studying asocial stage -  little observable social behaviour.

Conflicting evidence -  van ILzendoorn et al. research in different cultures has found that some babies form multiple attachments from the outset.

Measuring multiple attachments -  Bowlby pointed out that babies may get distressed when a playmate leaves, but this doesn't show an attachment.

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Animal studies of attachment

Lorenz's research - studied imprinting; goslings saw Lorenz when they hatched, and they followed him everywhere, the control group who saw their mother first folled her everywhere. Also studied sexual imprinting; adult birds try to mate with whatever species or object they imprint on.

Harlow's research - baby monkey's were given a wire mother that dispensed milk, and a cloth mother. The babies spent most of thier time (around 20 hours a day) with the cloth mother, and less than an hour a day with the wire mother. This shows that contact comfort is more important than food for attachment. He also studied maternal deprivation; this made monkeys more agressive and less sociable than other monkey's and they didn't breed often, they also neglected/attacked their own young.

There's a critical period for attachment (within 90 days).

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Evaluation of animal studies

Genralisability -  birds and mammals have different attachment systems so the results may not be relevant to humans.

Some observations questioned - Guiton et al. birds that imprinted on rubber gloves did later prefer their own species.

Theoretical value -  Harlow showed that contact comfort is most imporant for a baby's development.

Practical value -  helped social workers understand importanc of child abuse and neglect (Howe).

Ethical issues -  monkey's suffered greatly and in a human-like way in Harlow's research.

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Explanations of attachment - learning theory

Learning theory - Dollard and Miller proposed that attachment can be explained by this; it is sometimes called "cupboard love".

Classical conditioning - this involves learning to associate 2 stimuli together. Image result for classical conditioning attachment

Operant conditioning - behaviour is shaped and maintained by it's consequences. Positive/negative reinforcement/punishment.

Attachment as secondary drive - Sears et al. as caregivers give food, the primary drive of hunger is generalised to them, attachment becomes a secondary drive.

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Evaluation of the learning theory

Counter- evidence from animal research - Lorenz and Harlow's studies showed that feeding is not the key to attachment.

Counter-evidence from human research -  Schaffer and Emerson; most primary attachment figures were mothers even when others did most of the feeding.

Ignores other factors associated with forming attachments -  cannot account for the importance of sensitivity and interactional synchrony.

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Explanations of attachment - Bowlby's theory

Monotropy -  one particular attachment (primary attachment) is different and more important than the othera, and the more time spent with this person the better. Law of continuity stated that the more constant and predictable  a child's care, the better the quality of attachment. Law of accumulated separation states that the effect of every separation add up, and it's not good.

Social releasers and the critical period - babies born with innate cute behaviours like smiling that are aimed at achivating the adult's attachment system. The critical period (sensitve period) where a child must form an attachment by is around 2 years.

Internal working model -  our mental representations of the primary attachment relationship are templates for all future relationships. e.g. if you were poorly treated, you will continue to form poor attachments with people. 

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Evaluation of Bowlby's theory

Mixed evidence for monotropy - some babies form multiple attachments without a primary attachment. Suess et al. other attachments may contribut as much as the primary one.

Support for social releasers - Brazleton et al; when social releasers were ignored babies became distressed/ withdrawn.

Support for internal working model - Bailey et al. the quality of attachment is passed on through generations in families. (Assessed 99 mothers with 1 year old babies).

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Ainsworth's strange situation

Procedure - the strange situation is a controlled observation designed to test attachment security towards a caregiver.

1) the child is encouraged to explore; tests exploration and secure base.

2) a stranger tried to interact with child; tests stranger anxiety.

3) caregiver leaves child alone with stranger; tests separation and stranger anxiety.

4) caregiver returns and stranger leaves; tests reunion and exploration in secure base.

5) caregiver leaves child alone; tests separation anxiety.

6) stranger returns; tests stranger anxiety.

7) caregiver is reunited with child; tests reunion behaviour.

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Ainsworth's strange situation - findings

Findings -

- secure attachment (Type B): these children happily explore  but regularily go back to caregiver (proximity seeking+secure base). Show moderate separation and stranger anxiety, and they accept comfort at reunion.  60-75% of British toddlers are secure.

- insecure-avoidant attachment (Type A): explore but don't seek proximity or show secure base behaviour. Show little separation or stranger anxiety, and don't require comfort at reunion stage. 20-25% of British toddlers.

- insecure-resistant attachment (Type C): seek great proximity and explore less. Show huge separation and stranger anxiety, but resist comfort at reunion stage. 3% of British toddlers.

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Ainsworth's strange situation - findings

Findings -

- secure attachment (Type B): these children happily explore  but regularily go back to caregiver (proximity seeking+secure base). Show moderate separation and stranger anxiety, and they accept comfort at reunion.  60-75% of British toddlers are secure.

- insecure-avoidant attachment (Type A): explore but don't seek proximity or show secure base behaviour. Show little separation or stranger anxiety, and don't require comfort at reunion stage. 20-25% of British toddlers.

- insecure-resistant attachment (Type C): seek great proximity and explore less. Show huge separation and stranger anxiety, but resist comfort at reunion stage. 3% of British toddlers.

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Evaluation of the Strange Situation

Support for validity - secure babies are typically more successful with school, relationships and friendships even in adulthood. Insecure-resistant attachment is associated with the worst outcomes including bullying (Kokkinos) and adult mental health problems (Ward et al.); this supports the validity of concept.

Good reliability - Bick et al. good inter-rater reliability (different observations of same children agreed  on attachment type 94% of the time). The behavioural categories are easy to observe and study is under controlled conditions.

The test may be culture-bound -Takahashi found that the strange situation doesn't really work in Japan as the mothers are rarely separated from children. Separation anxiety was high and in reunion stage the mothers behaviour meant that the child's response was hard to observe.

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Cultural variations

van IJzendoorn - key study

Procedure - did a meta-analysis of 32 studies of attachment types across 8 different countries.

Findings - they found more variation within countries than between countries. In all countries secure attachment was most prominent, but proportion was 75% in Britain and 50% in China. Insecure-resistant was the least common, with 3% in Britain and 30% in Israel. Insecure-avoidant was most common in Germany and least common in Japan.

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Other studies of cultural variations

An Italian study - Simonella et al. assessed 76 12-month olds using the Strange Situation. 50% secure, 36% insecure-avoidant, one of the lowest levels of secure attachment. Could be because more mothers are going to work and getting babysitters.

A Korean study - Jin et al. Strange situation used to assess 87 children. Most infants secure, but only one child was insecure-avoidant (sim ilar results to Japan in the key study). These countries have similar child rearing styles.

Conclusions - secure attachment seems to be the norm, supporting Bowlby's theory that attachment is innate and universal. But, cultural practices have an influence on attachment type.

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Evaluation of cultural variations

Large samples - This is a strength. Van IJzendoorn's meta-analysis had a total of nearly 2000 babies. Large samples increase the internal validity by reducing the impact of anomalous results.

Samples tend to be unrepresentative of culture - countries do not equate to cultures nor to culturally specific methods of child rearing, so can't make generalisations.

Method of assessment is biased - includes ideas of etic (cultural universals) and emic (cultural uniqueness). Research using the strange situation imposes a USA test on other cultures (imposed etic).

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Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation

Separation vs deprivation - physical separation only leads to deprivation when the child loses emotional care.

The critical period - first 30 months of life. Deprivation in that time causes psychological damage.

Effects on development - Intellectual development; deprived children will have a low IQ. e.g. Goldfarb found lower IQ in children who had remained in insitutions than those who had been fostered. Emotional development; they will develop affectionless psychopathy.

Bowlby's 44 thieves study - procedure: assessed 44 teenage thieves and their family's were interviewed. A control group of non-criminal emotionally disturbed children was used. Findings: 14/44 could be described as affectionless psychopaths - 12 had experienced prolonged separation. In control group only 2 had experienced prolonged separation.

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Evaluation of maternal deprivation

The evidence may be poor - Orphans have experienced other traumas such as war, and Bowlby may have been a biased observer, because he carried out the experiments knowing what he hoped to find.

Counter evidence - Hilda Lewis partially replicated 44 thieves study on larger scale (500 yoing people); no link between early separation and later criminality.

The critical period is more of a sensitive period - later research shows that damage is not inevitable. Jarmila Koluchova reported case of twin boys who were isolated from 18-months until they were 7 years old. After they were adopted by a loving family they appeared to recover fully.

Animal studies show maternal deprivation effects - Levy et al. separating baby rats for as little as a day had permenant effects on their social development.

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Romanian orphan studies: effects of institutionali

Rutters ERA study - procedure: Rutter and colleagues followed group of 165 Romainian orphands adopted in Britain. Group of 52 British children adopted around same time were control group. Findings: some of those adopted still showed low IQ and disinhibited attachment after a few years.

Bucharest Early Intervention project - procedure: assessed 95 children ages 12-31 months who had spent around 90% of their lives in institutional care. Contro, group of 50 children who'd never been in an institution. Attachment type was measure using strange situation. 74% of control group were secure, only 19% of the institutional group were secure, and 65% were classed with disorganised attachment. Disinhibited attachment was applied to 44% of institutional group and to less than 20% in the control group.

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Effects of Institutionalisation

Effects of institutionalisation - 

Disinhibited attachment - equally friendly and affectionate towards strangers and those they know well. Rutter explained this as an adaption to living with multiple caregivers during the sensitive period.

Mental retardation - shown in Rutters study in most children when they arrive in Britain. Those who were adopted before they were 6 months old caught up with the control group by the age of 4.  Possi bly because they were attapted before the period of time where most attachments are formed.

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Evaluation of Romanian orphan studies

Real-life application - Langton; results seen of institutional care have lead to improvements in the way children are cared for in these places. Key workers who spend a lot of time with certain children mean that the children are able to form normal atachments.

Fewer extraneous variables than other orphan studies - other studies involved children who had experience trauma before they were institutionalised, e.g. neglect, abuse. These acted as confounding participant variables. The Romanian orphan study lacked these variables, which increased the internal validity.

Romanian orphanages were not typical - conditions here could have been so bad that results don't reflect effects of institutionalisation in other places. This is a limitation of the study becayse the unusual situational variables mean the studies may lack generalisability.

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Influence of early attachment on later relationshi

Internal working model - Bowlby suggested that the relationship a child has with their primary attachment serves as a template for all future relationships. A child will use this as their mental representation of what all relationships should be like.

Relationships in later childhood - Myron-Wilson and Smith assessed attachment type and bullying behaviours using a questionnaire with children from London. Secure: unlikely to be involved in bullying, insecure-avoidant: most likely victims, insecure-resistant: most likely doing the bullying.

Relationships in adulthood with romantic partners - McCarthy studied40 women who'd been asssessed when they were infants; those securely attached have better relationships - romantically and otherwise. Insecure- resistant had trouble maintaining friendships, and insecure-avoidant struggled with intimacy.

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Influence of early attachment on later relationshi

Relationships in adulthood with romantic partners - Hazan and Shaver analysed 620 replies to 'love quiz' in a newspaper, they found that 56% of respondants were secure, 25% insecure-avoidant, and 19% insecure-resistant. Thos avoidants tended to reveal jealousy and fear of intimacy, those who were secure were more likely to have good, long lasting relationships.

relationships in adulthood as a parent - Internal working models mean attachment type tends to be passed on through the generations. Bailey et al. majority of women had same attachment classification to their babies and to their own mothers.

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Evaluation of early attachment type of relationshi

Evidence on continuity of attachment type is mixed - Zimmerman et al. found little relationship between quality of attachment and later attachment. This is a problem because it isn't what would be expected if internal working models were important in development.

Most studies have issues of validity -most studies assess infant-parent attachment via interview or a questionnaire; this is a retrospective self report.

Association doesn't mean causality -Third environmental factor such as parenting stylemight have a direct effect on both attachment and the child's ability to form relationships; the child's temperament could also influence this. This is a limitation.

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