Ainsworth: The Strange Situation

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  • Created by: izzy
  • Created on: 10-06-13 17:19

Ainsworth (1970)

This study looked at individual differences in attachment. In Ainsworth's 'Strange Situation', infants aged 1 year to 18 months were observed through video cameras in a purpose built laboratory playroom with their mothers. The room contained two comfortable chairs and a play area with a set of toys suitable for young children. The procedure in Ainsworth's research consisted of a series of situations, which were standardised for all the babies who took part.

1) Mother and infant enter the room. Mother sits in one of the chairs and reads a magazine. Child is placed on the floor and is free to explore the toys.

2) After about three minutes, a stranger enter, sits on the second chair and talks briefly with the mother.

3) The stranger approaches the infant and attempts to interact and play with them.

4) Mother leaves the room so the infant is alone with the stranger. The stranger comforts the baby of they are upset and offers to play with them.

5) After around 3 minutes the mother returns and the stranger leaves.

6) 3 minutes later the mother departs again leaving the baby briefly alone in the room.

7) The stranger re-enters and offers to comfort and play with the baby.

8) Mother returns and the stranger leaves.

Using this procedure, Ainsworth was able to monitor the infant's behaviour in a variety of situations including the departure of the mother to assess separation anxiety, and the introduction of a stranger to assess stranger anxiety. She also examined the baby's behaviour towards the mother in a strange environment to assess whether or not the baby


arianator 4 life


this is good thanks

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