• Attachment, including learning and evolutionary theories.
  • types of attachment
  • cultural variations in attachment
  • disruption of attachment
  • seperation privation and deprivation
  • day care
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what is attachment

Shaffer-'close emotional bond between two persons a mutual affection and desire to maintain closeness'

Maccoby suggested that attachment consist of four key behaviours:

  • seeking closeness
  • distress on seperation
  • joy on reunion
  • general orentaion about caregiver
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learning theory

we are born as blank slates and all behaviour are learnt. Behaviour is either learned through operant or classical conditioning.

Classical= learning through association an example of this is pavlovs dog. the dog salvated (UCR) to food( UCS) when pavlov range his bell (NS) the dog did not salvaite. however when the bell was rang before the dog ate , the bell (CS) produced the salvation (CR) as the dog had assosiated the bell with food. when a baby is feed they feel pleasure they associate feeder with pleasure this is how attachments form.

Operant=learning through rewards and consequences. A reward which is a positive consequence stamps in behaviour and increases the chance of it happeneding again where as a negative consequence stamps out behaviour and reduces change of it happening again. for example if you come home later then when your MAM told you to, you might get grounded:( this acts as negative consequence and you might be less likely to come home late again.Attachment occurs because the child seeks the person who can supply the reward.

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evaluation of learning theory

It can provide an adequate explanation of how attachments form. as we do learn through association and reinforcement.

the role of food is th main weekness. Harry Harlow's study on rhesus monkeys challenges the throry as it involves 2 wire mother. one with food and the other with fur .an infant monkey would be expected to go to mother with food which is what learning theory would predict however it did the opposite.suggesting that infants value comfort over food.this study is done on non human animals so the results may not apply to humans however Emerson and SHaffers study on scotich babies does. in this study they found that infants were not mostly attached to person who fed them but to person who was most responsive and interacted with them most. QUALITY OF CARE OVER QUANTITY.

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evolutionary theory

Bowlby proposed:

  • we are born with innate drive to attach as attachments ensure protection and food which increase infants chance of survival and therefore reproduction.
  • there is a sensitive period in which attachment must form or one never will
  • infants are born with social releasers which encouragege caregiving. eg smiling
  • caregiver acts as a secure base allowing infant to expore.
  • monotropy- infant forms many attachment but one special one
  • attachment provides infant with internal working model which gives expectations of future if child has secure attachment they will go on to have successful relationsips
  • continuity hypothesis-there is alink between early realtionships and emotional development.if infant is securly attached they will go on to be competent in the future.
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evaluation of evolutionary theory

imprinting in non human animals as it shows attachment is innate. lorenz goslings imprinted on him as he was first thing they saw.universality-if evolutionary theory is correct we would expect attachment to be present in all cultures which tronick's study in Zaire Africa supports. even though there was different childrearing practices, such as being breastfed by other woman, infant still showed one primary attachment to biological mother.Continuity hypothesis- minnesota longitudinal study has followed people form infancy to late teenage years and have found continuity between early attachment and later social and emotional development. infants who were secure ion infancy were more popular and empathetic.

Multiple attachment-some people believe all attachments are of equal importance.

Alternative explanations-an innatly friendly personality of the infant may be the cause of secure attachment which is th TEMPERMENT HYPOTHESIS.

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Strange situation

a controlled observation which test the type of test stranger anxiety and stress anxiety.

secure attachment-uses caregiver as a secure base for exploration. is easily soothed when reunited with caregiver .

Insecure-avoident-not bothered wether the caregiver is in the room or not. is happy to explre without the caregiver even being in the room

Insecure-resistant-seek and reject intamacy at the same time.they are intensly distressed on seperation from caregiver.

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cultural variations in attachment

individulistculture- such as the culture in usa.they value independance

collectivist-depend on the group.such as japan and israel.

cross cultural simulatities

  • ainsworth uganda. infants used mum as safe base. same as usa
  • tronick-diffrent childrearing practices but still one primary attachment
  • fox-Israeli kibutzim-infants put in a kind of institut still had one primary attachment with mum.dispite shared care with nurses.

Cross cultural differenses

  • Grossmann and Grossmann founbd germans were calssed generally as insecurly attached- due to childrearing practices.involves having own space away from parents and therefore infant doesnt seek proximity in stange situation
  • Takahshi- japanese infants became so distressed on sepearation that study was stopped. in there culture they are allways with mother.
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Evaluation of cultural variations

Van Ijzendoorn-are there differences beetween different cultures. used strange situation.they found that secure attachment was most common.

Cultural bias

  • sensitivity hypothesis. more sensitive caregiving=more secure attachemnt in usa.however in japan sensitity=dependance rather then inderpendance.
  • continuity hypothesis,more secure=happier in future as individual in japan its more about being group orientated.

simularities may be due to media premoting good parenting rather then innate biology

Strange situation is imposed eticas it is designed in USA but imposed on other a result Japanese children may appear to be insecurly attached according to americas critiria however by japans stadards they are securly attached.

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Disruption of attachment

seperation may result in disruption of attachment.pschcologisted are keen to study the effects on seperation so that they can give advise to day care providers and parents.

Robertson and Robertson studied little John who was put in a residential nursery for nine days whilst his mother was in hospital .his father visted him. in the first 2 days john behaves normally.then his behaviour changes as he puts all his effort in getting attention from the nurses.this fails as the nurses are too busy.john seeks comfort in a teddy bear.over the next couple of days john breaks down and refuses food and drink.he gives up trying to get attention.on his fathers first visit john is enthusiastic, on the second john sits quietly.when his mum comes to collect him he screams and wants to get away from her and the anger towards her continued for many months.

Skeels and Dye found that institionalized childrenb have lower IQs but when transferred to a home for mentally retarded, the IQ rised. maybe the retarded adults enjoyed having children to look after and therefore provided good emotional care.

disruption of attachment has ill effect but the effects can be avoided or reversed.when alternate emotional care is provided.

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PDD Model

Robertson and bowlby.

1) seperation protest. infant cries on seperation.

2)despair-signs of protest dissapear.appears calm no longer seeks caregiver.


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The failure to form an attachment.

Case study on Genie

  • Discovered at 13 (past critical peiod) had been locked away in her room.
  • couldnt talk or walk.
  • unsure wether she was brain damaged from birth so cant determine wether her lack of language is due to privation .

Case study on Czech Twins

  • first 7 yearts of lives were locked away and beaten
  • couldnt talk at first but after discoverey were adopted went on to have normal life
  • dont know if its true privation-did they form attachment with each other?

it is likely that damage only happens if there is multiple risk factors- if privation is followed by poor emotional care.

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the impact of day care

day care results in physical seperation from caregiver

Negative effects on social development:

  • increased agressiveness- NICHD longitudinal study-more time child spent in day care,more adults rated them as agressive.Melhuish founds more hours in day care elevates the risk of antisocial behaviour later on.
  • peer relations-infants recieving 20+ hours a week in day care were more likely to be insecurley atached which leads to bad peer relations.

positive effects on social development:

  • day care provides social stimulation which you cant get at home.
  • mum at home alone may feel depressed and therefore interact less with child
  • Peer relations-exposes kids to peers and gives them time to come up with social stratigies.
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evaluation of research into day care

Agression-not all studies support the finding that more time in day care results in higher levels of agression.NICHD study stated that mothers sensitivity was a better indication to behaviour problems.Higher maternal education and income predicvted less behaviour problems. data only shows relationship not cause and effect.

peer reations and day are also correlational results. no cause and effect is established.

Day care is not single influence on a childs development.

Charachteristics of high quality care:

  • low child to staff ratio (1:3)
  • low staff turn over
  • highly qualified staff
  • sensitve emotional care
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