• Created by: April15
  • Created on: 06-01-20 20:55

Animal Studies of Attachment: Lorenz

  • Lorenz's procedure - goose eggs incubated so first living thing they saw was their natural mother or Lorenz
  • Findings - goslings imprinted on Lorenz and followed him
  • Critical period - imprinting doesnt happen later
  • Long-lasting effects - irreversible and related to mate choice (sexual imprinting)

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Research support - imprinting on yellow rubber gloves (Guiton et al.)
  • Critisms of imprinting - may not be irreversible and may be a little more than just learning
1 of 15

Animal Studies of Attachment: Harlow

Harlow's research

  • Procedure - wire 'mothers', one cloth covered. Feeding bottle attached to one or other
  • Findings - monekys spent most of the time with the cloth-covered 'mother', whether or not the feeding bottle was attached
  • Critical period - attachments must be formed before 6 months
  • Long-lasting effects - all motherless monekys were abnormal socially and sexually

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Confounding variable - wire mother faces different, varied systematicallywith an independent variable 
  • Generalising to humans may not be justified but findings confirmed (Schaffer and Emerson)
  • Ethics - benefits may outweigh costs, but doesn't challenge findings
2 of 15

Explanations of Attchment:Bowlby's Theory

  • Bowlby's attachment theory (1969): critical period - attachments form around 3-6 months, afterwards this becomes increasingly difficult
  • Primary attachment figure - determined by caregiver sensitivity (Ainsworth)
  • Social releasers elicit caregiving and ensure attachment from parent to infant
  • Monotropy - primary attachment has a special emotional role, secondary attachments provide a saftey net
  • Internal working model - acts as a template for future relationships, creating continuity (continuity hypothesis)

Evaluation and Discussion:

  • Attachment is adaptive - human infants form attachments when they start to be mobile
  • Asensitive period rather than a critical one (Rutter et al.)
  • Mutilple attachments - Bowlby's views are not contradictory because secondary attahments contribute to one single internal working model
  • Continuity hypothesis - securely attached infants later classed as more empathetic and more popular (Sroufe et al.)
  • Temperament hypothesis - Kagan suggested that innate emotional personality determines attachment
3 of 15

Explanations of Attchment:Learning Theory

  • Learning Theory (behaviourism): all behvaiours are learned rather than inherited
  • Classical Conditioning - new conditioned response learned through association between a neutral stimulus (mother) and an unconditioned stimulus (food)
  • Operant Conditioning - the reduction of discomfort created by hunger is rewarding so food becomes a primary reinforcer, associated with mother who becomes a secondary reinforcer
  • Social learning - children model parents' attachment behaviours (Hay and Vespo)

Evaluation and Discussion:

  • Animal studies - lack of external validity because simplified view of human attchment
  • Attachment is not based on food - Harlow showed it was contact comfort; supported by Schaffer and Emerson
  • Learning Theory can explain some aspects of attachment - attention and responsiveness are rewards 
  • Drive reduction theory is limited - reducing discomfort does not explain secondary reinforcers
  • Alternative explanation - Bowbly's theory
4 of 15

Caregiver-Infant Interactions

  • Reciprocity - taking turns as in a conversation (Jaffe et al.)
  • Brazelton - mother anticipates infant signals, basis of attachment
  • Interactional synchrony - coordinated behaviour
  • Meltzoff and Moore - 3 -day-old babies imitate mothers
  • Paiget - behaviour is psuedo-imitation (operant conditioning)
  • Murray and Trevarthen - infant distressd if no response, support innateness

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Problems testing infant behaviour as they are in constant motion
  • Failure to replicate Meltzoff and Moore (Marian et al. - Live vs Taped interactions)
  • Intentionally supported - no response to inanimate objects (Anravel and DeYong)
  • Individual differences - security of attachment associated with interactional synchrony (Isabella et al.)
  • 'Like Me' hypothesis by Meltzoff - interactional synchrony leads to the Theory of Mind
5 of 15

The Development of Attachment

  • Schaffer and Emerson studied 60 infants and mothers from Glasgow
  • Stage 1: Indiscriminate attachments, Stage 2: Beginnings of attachments, Stage 3: Specific attachments, Stage 4: Multiple attachments
  • The role of the father - changing social practices:increased exposure might lead to primary attachments
  • Biological factors - women have hormones which encourage caringness
  • Nevertheless men are primary attachment figures/share this role (Frank et al.)
  • Secondary attachment - fathers are more playful (Geiger); problem solving (White and Woollett)
6 of 15

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Unreliable data - mothers of less securely attached infants would be less sensitive and probably less accurate in their reports, a systematic bias
  • Baised sample - working class population from 1960s, results may not generalise
  • Challenging Montropy - Rutter argued that all relationships are equivalent
  • Cultural variations - infants raised in a collectivist environment showed less maternal attachment than in individualist/family homes (Sagi et al.)
  • Theaories of development may be too inflexible
7 of 15

Ainsworth's Strange Situation: Types of Attachment

  • Ainsworth et al. - a systematic test of attachmnent to one caregiver, situation of mild stress and novelty
  • Procedure  - observations every 15 seconds of behaviours (contact-seeking or contact-aviodance)
  • Behaviours assessed - seperation anxiety, reunion behaviour, stranger anxiety, secure base
  • Findings: types of attachment: secure (65% type B), imsecure-aviodant (22% type A), insecure-resistant (12% type C)

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Other types of attachment - disorganised (type D - Milan and Solomon)
  • High reliability - inter-observeer reliability > .94.
  • Real-world application - Circle of Security Project
  • Low internal validity - children behave differently depending on which parent (Milan and Soloman), though attachment type may be related to primary attachment figure
  • Maternal reflexive functioning may explain attachment better than sensitivitu (Raval et al.)
8 of 15

Cultural Variations in Attachment

  • Key Study: van IJzendoorn and Kroonberg - meta-analysid of 32 students using  the Strange Situation, from 8 countries
  • Findings - secure attachment was the norm in all countries, greater variation within countries than between them
  • Cultural similarities - Efe infants (Tronick et al.)
  • Cultural differences - more insecure attachment in German sample (Grossman and Grossman)
  • Cultural differences - viodant attachment in Japan sample (Takahashi)

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Similarities may be due to global culture (van IJzendoorn and Kroonberg)
  • Results relate to countries yet within countries there are cultural differences (rural vs. urban - Japan - van IJzendoorn and Sagi)
  • Cross-cultural research - uses tools developed in one country in a different setting where it has a different meaning (imposed etic)
  • Culture bias - Rothbaum argues that attachment theory generally has a western bias
  • Indigenous theories - may be the solution, though Posada and Jacobs  suggest that there are universal attachment behaviours
9 of 15

Bowlby's Theory of Maternal Deprivation

  • Value of maternal care - children need a warm, intimate and continuous relationship with a mother or mother-substitute
  • Critical period - frequent and/or prolonged seperations from a mother will have negative effects if they occur before the age of 2 and a half (critical period) or up to age 5 (sensitive period) if there is no mother-substitute
  • Long-term consequences - include emotionbal maladjustment or mental disorder such as depression
  • Key study: 44 juvenile thieves - Findings: 86% of affectionless theives had frequent seperations before 2 compared with 17% of ther thieves and just 2% of the control group
10 of 15

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Emotional rather than physical separation is harmful (Radke -Yarrow)
  • Support for long-term effects - women who experienced early seperation more likely to experience depression later in life (Bifulco et al.)
  • Real-world application - fims of Laura brought about social change (Bowlby and Robertson)
  • Individual differences - some children are more resiliant (securely attached children in TB hospital - Bowlby etal.)
  • Deprivation versus privation - loss of care (deprivation) may not have as serious concequences as total lack of attachment (privation), Rutter
11 of 15

Romanian Orphan Studies: Effects of Institutionali

  • Key Study: Rutter et al. - 165 Romanian orphans, physical, cognitive and social development tested at regular intervals
  • Findings: at age 11 those children adopted before 6 months showed good recovery, older adoptions asdsociated with disinhibited attachment
  • Canadian study (Le Mare and Audet) - Roamian orphans physically smaller at adoption but recovered by age 10 and a half
  • Romanian study (Zeanah et al.) - institutionalised Romanian orphans compared to control group more likely to display disinhibited attachment
  • Effects of Institutionalisation - physical underdevelopment (deprivation dwarfism, Gardner,) intellectual underfunctioning (Skodak and Skeels),  disinhibited attachment, poor parenting (Quinton et al.)
12 of 15

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Individual differences - some children appear to recover despite no apparent attachments within the sensitive period
  • Real-life application: adoption should be as early as possible and then infants securely attached (Singer et al.)
  • Longitudinal studies - show that some changes take a while to become apparent, current studies show some recovery possible
  • Deprivation is only one factor - most institutionalised children experience multiple 'risks', thus maternal deprivation should not be over-exaggerated (Turner and Lloyd)
  • The effects may just be due to slower development - the fact that children do appear to recover in time suggests that the effects simply slow down development (LeMare and Audet) 
13 of 15

The Influence of Early Attachment

  • Internal Working Model - model of self and attachment partner based on their joint attachment history which generates expectations about current and future relationships
  • Key Study: Hazan and Shaver - placed a 'Love Quiz' in newspapaer and analysed 620 responses
  • Findings: positive relationship between attachment type (childhood and current one) and love experiences/attitudes (internal working model)
  • Behaviours influenced by the internal working model - childhood friendships (Minnesota child-parent study), poor parenting Qinton et al.), romantic relationships (Hazan and Shaver) and emntal health (attachment disorder)
14 of 15

Evaluation and Discussion

  • Correlational research - internal working model may not cause later relationship experiences, temperament may be intervening variable
  • Retrospective classification - childhood attachemnt type based on memeory of childhood which may be inaccurate, though support from the longitudinal study (Simpson et al.)
  • Overly determinist - past attachment experiences do not always dtermine the course of future relationships (Simpson et al.)
  • Low correlations - a meta-analysis of studies suggest correlations between early attachments and later relationships may be as low as .10 (Fraley)
  • Alternative explanation - adult relationships guided by self-verication (Feeney)
15 of 15


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Attachment resources »