Developmental Psychology


Learning theory of attachment

infants become attached to those who feed them.

Schaffer and Emerson (1964)- found that 4 in 10 infants formed an attachment to those who played with them, not fed them.

Harlow and Hralow (1958)- baby monkeys- attached to the cloth mum instead of the one with food.

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Bolbys theory of attachment

infants attach to whoever can protect them from danger. 

if a mother anc infant stay close toegther, the survival rate is higher.

parents have instincts to care for the infants, and infants hav instincts to encourage caregiving.

first attachment- monotropy

critical period- before 3 years old.

internal working model- relationships with mother now, form the basis for what they expect from relationships later in life.

Schaffer and Emerson (1964)- multiple attachments formed- goes against the monotropy theory

Hodges and Tizard (1989)- children adopted after 4 years still formed attachemtns to the adoptive parents- goes against the critical period.         

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The strange situation

the sensitivity hypothesis- the more responsive the mother is in early years, the more secure the attachment is.  

1- infant, mother and observer 

2- infant, mother 

3- infant, mother , stranger 

4- infant, stranger 

5- infant, mother 

6- infant

7- infant, stranger

8- infant, mother

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The strange situation results

Secure- 70% (normal babies)

insecure avoidant- 20% (dont care babies)

insecure- resistant- 10% (angry babies)

can easily be replicated

ethical issues

middle class families only.

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Cultural variations

Van Ijendoorn and kroonberg (1988)- meta analysis of 32 studies.

secure attachments are the most common type of attachment in all cultures.

makes logical sense- different cultural practices but overall the majority of infants would be securely attached to mothers.

middle class americans only- ethnocentrism (child rearing being different in other cultures)

germany- early independence

japan- rarely seperated from mothers.

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Curtis(1977)- Genie

Genies father believed she was retarded. kept her in a room, strapped to a high chair with a built in potty seat. wasnt allowed to play with toys or other children. was beaten if she made noise.

wasnt found until 13 and a half years old.

made good progress once in foster care but after moving to a poorer quality foster care, she never fully recovered her social skills.

Koluchova (1972)- czech twins

biological mother died giving birth and they grew up with their father and step mother. locked in cellar and were beaten, not fed and never spoken to.

found when they were 7 and were scared of people.

placed in a good foster home where they were cared for by two loving sister at the age of 9. by 14 they had normal social skills. by 20 they were above average intelligence.

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Disruption of attachment

Protest- clings to parent, and cries/screams

Despair- state of hopelessness/depression

Detachment- switched off from people and no longer actively distressed

Robertson and Robertson (1971)- negative effects of short term speration can be avoided by providing children with a normal home routine.

John (residential nursery) and laura (in a hopsital) both suffered attachment disruption.

jane, lucy, thomas and kate (looked after by a family) did not suffer attachment disruption.

hospital procedures changed- visiting hours altered and shifts were changed.

individual differences in reaction to short term seperation were not considered- older children react better.

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Institutional care

Hodges and Tizard (1989)- to investigate what effect environment has on attachments.

65 children- all placed in an institution before 4 years old.

interviewed at 4, 8 and 16 years old.

by 16, they had either been adopted or restored to biological families.

attachment to parents- the adopted group were as attached as the control group. the restored group werent attached.

relationships with siblings- adopted group had more problems than control group. restored group were less attached.

relationships with peers- adopted worse than control group. restored were worse than control group.

conclusions- attachments can be formed later on but depending on the environment.

both groups struggled with relationships   

Rutter et al (1998)- 111 romanian children adopted by british families before the age of two and found their development was normal again by the age of 4- children can recover from the effects of institutionalisation.

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Different forms of daycare

Aggression- Shea (1981)- infants aged 3-4 years were videod in the playground during first 10 weeks at nursery. decrease in aggression over the 10 weeks- children who attended 5 days a week showed a quicker reduction in aggression than those who attended 2 times.

The national institute of child health and development (nichd)- large sample of children aged 4 and a half years old. they found the more time children spent in daycare, the greater the number of porblems with their conduct.

Peer relations- Clarke- stewart et al (1994)- obsevred the peer relationships of 150 children aged 2-3 years. those who experienced day care were better at coping with social situations.

Pennbaker et al (1981)- found that shy or unsociable children fine the nursery experience very threatening, which could have a negative effect on their social development.

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Research into daycare

research into daycare has led to an improvement in the quality of daycare practices.

parenting classes- guidance and support

not seperating a child from its caregiver - beds at hopsitals for the children

not placing children in institutions- not using large orphanages

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