Scaffers study:

Scaffer tested early attachments.

  • 60 newborn babies and their mothers 
  • All from Glasgow
  • Visited each month for one year

Seperation protest after 6-8 months 

Stranger anxiety at 7-9 months

At 18 they months had multiple attachments

Stages of attachment:

  • Asocial stage (first few weeks) - Not attached to humans at first but then after 6 weeks they prefer them
  • Indiscriminate attachment (2-7m) - Smile more at known people, but let strangers handle them
  • Discriminate attachment (7+m) -  Specific attachments, staying close
  • Multiple attachments (one year onward) - Strong emotional attachment, stonger stranger anxiety. 
1 of 9


Animal studies:

He did imprinting with babie geese. 

  • Divided a clutch of goose eggs into two
  • Half hatched with mother - Imprinted onto mother
  • Half hatched with Lorenz in an incubator - Printed onto Lorenz.

They were placed in an upturned box and followed who they saw first.

Only happened if exposed to large object after 4-24hrs of hatching. 


Weakness- Ethical issues

Weakness- Cannot be generalised to humans as geese and humans are very different. 

2 of 9


Animal studies:

Investiagated whether attachment was based on food or something else.

  • 16 new born monkeys reared with a wire "mother" and with a cloth "mother"
  • In one condition milk was dispensed from the wire monkey and in another it was from the cloth monkey. 
  • It was found that the baby monkeys cuddled the cloth mother rather than the wire one.
  • This showed that comfort contact was more important than food when it came to attachment behaviour.

Monkeys grew up to be psychologically damaged and developed abnormally. They grew up with severe aggressive traits and were not skilled in mating. 


Weakness- Ethical issues

3 of 9

Learning Theory of Attachment:

Classical Conditioning: Associate who gives food with pleasure. Mum present when food present then mum becomes source of pleasure.

Operant Conditioning: Trial and error. Each time a baby cries when hungry, mum comes along and makes comfortable. Reinforces crying. 

4 of 9

Types of attachment:

Secure attachment: Happily but regulary goes back to caregiver.

Insecure-avoidant: No reaction when parent returns.

Insecure-resistant: Show huge stranger anxiety and seperation and resists comfort when returned.

Ainsworth strange situations: 

  • 2 Chairs and toys
  • Mother left room with stranger
  • Behavioural measures = proximity seeking, exploration, and secure-base behaviour, stranger anxiety, seperation anxiety response to reunion. 
5 of 9

Cultural Variations:

Van and Kroonenberg:

Meta-analysis, 32 studies, 8 countries and 2000 babies.

Most common across all countries = Type B attachment.

Low Type B = China

Low Type A = Israel and Japan (Collective Culture)

Low Type C = Britian and Germany (Individualistic Cultures)

6 of 9

Bowlbys Theory of Material Deprivation:

Warm, intimate, emotional relationship is essential. 

Deprived of critical period - emotional disturbed and if no substitute found causes affectionless.

  • If critical period is missed then it causes psychopathy and reduced intellectual ability.

44 thieves study:

44 delinquent teenagers accused of stealing. All theives were interviewed for signs of affectionless psychopathy characterised by a lack of affection, guilt and empathy.

14 out of 44 thieves could be described as affectionless psychopaths. 12 had expeirienced prolonged seperation from their mothers in first two years of thier lives. 

7 of 9

Effects of institutionalisation:

Rutters romanian orphan studies:

Can nurturing care overcome effects of privation.

  • 11 children.
  • 3 groups.
  • Adopted before 6 months. 

Assessed cognitive development.


Weakness- People dropped out of the study


  • 50% of children classed as retarded
  • If adopted before 6 months they caught up mentally.
  • Adopted after 6 months problems with cognition and attachment figures. 
8 of 9

Influence of attachment on later relationships:

Continuity hypothesis - Characteristics in childhood influence later relationships.

Based on internal working model - Infants primary attachment forms a model/template for future relationships.

Lyons-Ruth: Peers. Tested contitunity hypothesis. Longitudinal attachment type at 18 months. Attachment to peers at 5 years. 

9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »