Caregive-infant interactions

Reciprocity: infant and caregivers can reloable evoke a response from one another

// Melzoff and Moore: baby's reaction to lip, tounge protrusion, hand wave and open mouth. Strangers asked to state what baby did on video

Interactional Syncrony: infant and caregiver coordinate their actions to form a conversation without language

// Condon and Sander provide evidence for concept- babies move in time to adult conversation

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Stages of attachment (Schaffer and Emerson)

  • Pre-attachment (asocial): 0-3 months, seperate people from objects but no career preference
  • Indiscriminate attatchment: 6 weeks - seven months, infant distinguisges caregivers, smiles more at poeple it knows than strangers 
  • Discriminate attctchment: 7-11 months, forms strong attatchment with individual. Is content with primary attatchment, distressed when they leave. Stanger anxiety sets in
  • Multiple attachement: from 9  months infant can form up to 5 attachements. Some may have different strengths with different functions

M.  60 babies observed (Glasgow) every 4 weeks from birth>18 months. Interviews also conducted on families 

R. Schaffers stages of attatchemnt occured, at 8 months, 50 infants had more than 1 attatchment. 20 of them had no attatchment to mother or had a stronger attatchment to someone else, even if mother was primary care-giver 

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Role of the Father

Most research is mother centric, with many researchers suggesting that males play a more 'playmate' role than caregiver. 

Degree of sensetivity: fathers who show sensitivity to the needs of the infant develop more secure attachments

Goodsell and Meldrum (2009): study into relationshipi between infants and father. Found that those with secure attatchements to mother are likely to have secure attatchment to their father 

Applicaion of psycholgy to the real world looks at the outcomes for the child for having a bond with their father.

- lack of father has been shown to have negative outcomes such as high risk behvaiour and aggression (especially in boys)

+ secure paternal attchment has positive effects: good social relationships, high emotioal control

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Lorenz's study of animal attachment

  1. Half goose eggs under mother, half under lamp
  2. Lorenz made goose noises and observed his goslings
  3. Once slightly grown, put all goslings together and Lorenz's half came to him

Lorenz concluded that geese imprint on large moving objects within the first 12-17 hours after birth (critical period). Suggetss that attachment in innate and no feeding is required. 

Long term: Lorenz's goslings could not procreate as they had no interest in their own species, only yellow rubber gloves, such as the ones Lorenz used when handling them.

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Harlows Mokeys

Harlow raised infant Rhesus monkeys in isolation with two surrogate 'mothers' (S1= wire, S2= cloth)The infants were observed which surrogate they spent most time with, and which they used as a safe base when deliberately frightened.

Findings: infants imprinted on cloth surrogate but used the wire surrogate to feed from.

Long term: Harlow tested the monkeys abilities long term, using a 'r8pe rack'. They were found unable to have social relationships, and when forced to procreate, they would harm their offspring, bit, smash and neglect them.

Conclusions: Attachment is not based on food as suggested by the learning theory approach, instead it supports the evolutionary theory of attachment. It is comfort and protection that is most important, not food provision. Also, social contact is crucial for normal development.

  • as it was a lab experiment, high control on variable
  • hard to generalise to humans; humans and monkeys are qualitatively different
  • ethical issues: monkeys put in distress and showed signs of psychological damage
  • lack ecological validity: monkeys not in natural environment so cant be reliably applied to real life
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Learnign Theory of Attachment

Classical conditioning: food satisfies a need by removing hunger, infants associate this good feeling with caregiver. 

UCS (food) ---------------------> satisfaction (UCR)

NS (caregiver) + UCS --------> satisfaction

CS (caregiver)------------------> satisfaction (CR)

Operant conditioning: linked to drive reduction. Baby feels hunger (negative drive state). Care-giver feeds baby and is negative drive state is reduced. Caregivers presence is negatively reinforced by reduction of hunger and so baby attaches to them.

- too reductionist. simple explaantins for complex behaviours -ignores different types of attachment

- Drive reduction has limited exploratory value and fails to explain why we seek uncomfortable siuations i.e rollercpasters

+ Supported by Dollard and Miller: infnats fed 2000 times in first year, enough to form an associaion (adds mundane reaslism)

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Bowlby's Monotropic Theory

Influenced by Harlow, in that attachment is biologically programmed. (ASCMI)

Adaption: attatch for protection, warmth etc increase chances of survival

Social releasers: actions that promote attention from adult (sensetive responsiveness i.e reciprocity)

Critical period: relationship must form before 3 years old

Monotropy: one special relationship (usually biological mother)

Internal working model: laying the foundations for future relationships 

- concept of monotropy challenged by studies of multiple attachment (Schaffer and Emerson)

- critical period challened by Kulochovas czech twins, formed good relationships outside critical period 

+ Brazelton suported sensetive responsiveness finding mothers and babies imitated each other

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Ainsworths Strange Situation

Mum and baby (9-18 months old) in eight episodes, about 3 minutes each

  1. Mum and baby play
  2. Mum sits and baby plays
  3. Stranger enters and talks to mum
  1. Mum leaves, baby plays , stranger offer comfort if needed
  2. Mum returns, offers comfort, stranger leaves
  3. Mum leaves, baby alone
  4. Stranger enters and offers comfort
  5. Mum returns and offers comfort 

Four behvaiours were being looked for:

  • Exploration behaviour
  • Stranger anxiety
  • Seperation protest
  • Reunion behaviour

70% secure, 15% insecure resistant, 15% insecure avoidant

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Types of Attatchment

Secure: strong bond between child and caregiver, if separated, child becomes distressed, when reunited child is easily comforted. Most attachments are secure. Secure attachments are associated with healthy cognitive and emotional development.

Insecure: bond between child and caregiver is weaker. Ainsworth et al. came up with 2 types of insecure attachment

  > Insecure Avoidant: when separated child isnt distressed and can be comforted by stranger. Is usually shown by children who avoid social interaction and intimacy with others

   >Insecure Resistant: child is   uneasy around caregiver but upset when separated. Strangers cant provide comfort and comfort from caregiver is also resisted. Children who show this both accept and reject social interaction and intimacy

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Aisnworth Evaluation

- Strict controls increases demand characteristcis mums may have shown (lack mundane realism)

- Procedure can be said as unethical as it caused distress to infants, but no long term effects 

- Main and Solomon found a fourth type, insecure disorganised, means original study lacks validity

- Estrocentric 

- Culturally relative 

+ Aisnworth linked attachment types to sensetive reposniveness, meanign parents could be trained to be more sensetive and govern secure attachments 

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Cultural Variations in Attatchment

Van Ijerndoorn and Kroonenberg: meta analysis of 32 SSP studies in 8 countries. 1990 infant-mother pairs used (large sample). Secure was most common in every country, but varied alot.                                           Secure                          avoidant                      resistant

  • Germany-                       57                  :                 35                :                8
  • UK-                                75                   :                 22                :                3
  • USA-                              65                   :                 21                :               14
  • Netherlands-                  67                   :                 26                :                7
  • Sweden-                         74                   :                22                 :               4
  • Israel-                             64                   :                 7                  :               29
  • Japan-                            68                   :                 5                  :               27
  • China-                            50                   :                 25                :               25

Kyoung (Korea): ussed SSP to compare mother-infant pairs in USA and Korea. Secure percentages similar even though different cultures.

- 18 studies done in USA but only 1 in china, may mean bias towards western perspctive

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Bowlby: Maternal Deprivation

Hypothesis: any seperation between infant and mother (even short term) can have detrimental effects later in life (emotional, physical, intellectual, social development).

Short-term seperation: PDD model (children go through: protest, despair and detachment). Robertson and Robertson support finding evidence of PDD in pairs seperated for a week or more

Long-term seperation: parental death, divorce, imprisonment of parents etc can lead to long term effects. Bifulco studied women who had been seperated from mothers for a year or more. Found a 10% increase risk depression or anxiety disorders. Risk highest for those who were sperated before 6 years old (supports critical period).

44 Thieves: using clients from his clinic, Bowlby studied 44 juveniles sent to his for delinquent thievery, and 44 controls (all were emotionally malajusted). 14 of the 44 thieves showed signs of affectionless psychopathy, and 86% of these had been seperated from mothers multiple times in childhood.

-  not all children react to seperation the same way, emotional malajustment may be due to other factors than seperation

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Romanian Orphan Studies

Privation: when an infant is denied the opportunity to form an attachment with a care-giver 

After the fall of the Romanian dictator, the world was hsocked to see how many institutionalised children were not being cared for, living in filth with no care-givers and many children per bed

Rutter: to see if experience of privation can be overcome by sensetive care after adoption 

  • 165 Romanian adoptees, 111 under 2, the rest under 4
  • comparison group of 52 British adoptees before age of 6 months 
  • assesed cognitive and physical development at outset and then every 4 years 

Findings: Romanian children lagged behind at the start, but by 4 years later, had caught up physically and cognitively, especailly those adopted before 6 months. 

- no records on how much care individual children recieved in romania, so they could have been protected from privation if cared for by nurses more than others, these individual differences have not been taken into account.

+ consistant with Kuluchovas Czech twin findings

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Influence on later relationships

Children with secure attachmements will develop a nhealthy internal working model and are likely to be open and trusting of others. 

Hazan and Shaver: To see if primary attachment relationship with parents effected adult relationships 

  • 620 people answered a love quiz in a local USA paper 
  • questionsair designed to establish ptps parental attachment types and types of relationships as adults 
  • researchers analysed data to classify past and present relationships into different attachment types 

Results: people classified as insecure avoidant were more likely to doubt that love will last and insecure resistant were mre prone to being lonely.

The continuity hypothesis is supported as there was acorrelation between child and adult relationships.

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