Schaffer and Emerson Study of the Learning Theory

  • Created by: Chelsea
  • Created on: 06-04-14 17:37

Schaffer and Emerson Study of the Learning Theory


60 babies from mainly working class homes in Glasgow.

Studied every 4 weeks throughout their first year. Then again at 18 months.

Mothers were asked how the baby reacted in various seperation situations such as: 

- Being left alone in a room.

- Left with a baby sitter.

- Being put to bed.

The babies were attached to people who were not involved to people in their physical care but who were the most responsive and interacted with them the most (e.g. fathers) and 39% of the cases, the mother was not the babies main attachment figure. This suggests that feeding is not the main explanation of attachment.

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Schaffer and Emerson Study of the Learning Theory

This study is good because:

- It has high ecological validity - Field experiment.

- It looked at human babies, not animals.

study's limitations are:

- It mainly used babies from working class homes in Glasgow so it is culturally biased.

- Social acceptance - The mother may have lied to make herself look better or to give desirable answers.

- There is a small sample size of 60.

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