Developmental Experiements

Experiements by Hazan and Shaver, Schaffer and Emmerson, Harlow and Harlow, Van Ijezendoorn and Kroonenberg, Ainsworth et al, Robbertson and Robbertson, Bowlby, Spitz and Wolf and Rutter

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  • Created by: Shannon
  • Created on: 09-01-14 12:32

Reasearch to support Bowlby's Evolutionary Theory

Aim: To investigate the existence of the internal working memory

Method: In an US newspaper, they put a love quiz in there asking about current relationships and past attachments. Ppts had to complete the quiz and send it back

Findings: From the responses gained, Hazan and Shaver found there was a link between past attachments being very similar to current relationships

Conclusion: The internal working memory exists and does act as a template for adult relationships


  • Social desirability bias means ppt lie to make it seem as though they have good relationships
  • Sample is gathered from 1 US newspaper so results can't be generalised
  • They used volunteer sample so only certain people with time and motivation will take part
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Research to go against Bowlby's Evolutionary Theor

Aim: To investigate whether monotropy exists

Method: Self report in Glasgow on 60 babies where mom would answer questions about how babies reacts in different situations i.e. bed time

Findings: Mother reported that their babies were attached to multiple people                    

Conclusion: Monotropy doesn't exist


  • Social desirability bias
  • Small sample from only one area so results can't be generalised
  • Biased sample
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Research against the learning theory - Harlow

Research against the learning theory - Harlow and Harlow

Aim: To investigate if food really is the key factor in detrmining attachment behaviour

Procedure: Took baby mokeys from their mothers and placed them in a cage with two replacement mothers. One replacement mother was made of wire and provided milk. One replacement mother was covered with cloth. It provided comfort but no milk

Findings: In times of stress the monkey went to the cloth mother rather than the wire mother. They also found that the monkey spent more time with the cloth mother rather than the wire mother

Conclusion: The learning theory is incorrect because food was not the factor determining attachment, it was comfort


  • The experiment only used monketys in their sample which doesn't give a good representaion of human attachments so results can't be generalised
  • Humans may react differently
  • There were ethical issues such as lack of protection form psychological harm as monkey experienced psychological distress during the experiment
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Research against the learning theory - Schaffer

Research against the learning theory - Schaffer and Emerson

  • Observed 60 babies in Glasgow for a year
  • Found that most babeis were clearly attachment to people who didn't feed them but where responsive and interacted with them
  • This falsifies the LT as it states that babies become attached to the primary caregiver because of food whereas S+E found that the person they were more attached to was the person who was most responsive













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Cultural Variations in Attachment - Van Ije

Cultural Variations in Attachment - Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg

Aim: To investigate the reported rates different infant attachments types in a range of cultures

Method: Meta - analysis of 32 studies of the strange situation in different countries

Results: Most common attachment was secure. In western countries - insecure avoidant, in non western - insecure resistant

Conclusion: There are cross cultural similiarities in raising children producing common reactions to the strange situation

Evaluation: Assumes that different countries is the same as different cultures. Meta analysis tends to hid invidiual results that show an unusual trend

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The Strange Situation- Ainsworth

The Strange Situation- Ainsworth

Aim: To investigate the most common type of attachment using the strange situation procedure to measure this

Method: Lab experiment. Observation. 8 step procedure consiting of mom and stranger entering and leavign the room. Measured attachment based on separation and stranger anxiety, reunion behaviour and the use of the mom as a safe bad to explore. Only observed American mother and child pairs

Results: 70% - Secure - 15% Insecure (avoidant and resistant)

Conclusion: The SS can be used as a valid measure of attachment types and Secure attachment is the most common

Evalutation:Lab experiment - lacks ecological validity. Only american babies so doens't give a good representive sample. Mother's change in behaviour due to demand characteristics may affect babies behaviour.

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Support for the PDD model - Robertson

Support for the PDD model - Robertson and Robertson

  • John who was 18mnths old stayed in a residential nursery for 9 days while his mom had a baby
  • John showed signs of protest in the first few days and then he showed despair and then showed dettachment (content again)
  • Conclusion: The short term separation had very bad effects on john
  • Evaluation: John's reaction mayt be due to the new environment and the lack of attention her is used to. Little control over variables causes results less reliable. Has high ecological validity



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Longer term MDH - Bowlby


  • Deprivation from the main carer during the critical period will have harmful effects on the child's PIES
  • Long term effects of deprivation may include separation anxiety. Child becomes clingy and future relationships may be affected by this emotional security
  • Conclusion: Depriving the child of its main carer early in life can have very harmful long yerm consequences
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Reversing the effects of Deprivation - Spitz

Spitz and Wolf

  • Carried out a study of 100 children who had become depressed after being separated from their mother during a stay in a hospital
  • Only made full recovery if their stay was less than 3 months
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Genie - Privation

  • Suffered from cruelty from her parents and never formed any attachments
  • she was physically underdeveloped
  • discovered at 13 years old
  • her social skills never fully developed
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Czech Twins - Privation

  • Twin boys whose mother died soon after they were born
  • Treated badly
  • Found at 7
  • Had very little social and intellectual development
  • they were adopted and made lots of progress
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Differences between cases

Czech twins were younger when found so had time to develop

Twins had each other

Twins recieved a better quality of care

Limitations of this evidence

Other factors affected their development

Hard to generalise results bc only focused on individual cases

Case studies show mixed results

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