Psychology Revision

  • Created by: q
  • Created on: 29-09-17 15:05


Attachment is an emotional bond in which the two participants seek physical closeness and feel more secure in the presence of their attachment figure.

Reciprocity involves the baby and the primary attachment paying close attention to each other’s verbal signals and facial expressions (Feldman, 2007). Typically, mothers respond to infant alertness around two-thirds of the time (Feldman and Eidelman, 2007).

Interactional synchrony is ‘the temporary coordination of micro-level social behaviour’ (Feldman, 2007). Brazleton (1975) described it as a ‘dance’.


Difficult to know what’s happening when observing infants; it’s difficult to be certain, based on observations, what’s happening from the baby’s perspective: WEAKNESS.

Controlled observations capture fine details; babies don’t know or care if they’re being observed, so the research has good validity: STRENGTH.

Observations don’t tell us the purpose of synchrony and reciprocity; Feldman (2012) points out that synchrony, and by extension, reciprocity, simply describe behaviours and don’t discover the purpose: WEAKNESS.

Socially sensitive; suggests that children may be disadvantaged by certain upbringings, and implies that mothers who return to work early as missing an opportunity to develop interactional synchrony: WEAKNESS.


Grossman (2002) carried out a longitudinal study that suggested that the father attachment was less important. Despite this, the key to attachment is the level of responsiveness, not gender (Tiffany Field, 1978), so, in theory, gender shouldn’t limit ability to form attachment (gender roles, however, impact this: BELOW).

Verissimo (2011) indicated that a children with secure attachments to their fathers had more reciprocated friendships than those in insecure relationships.


Inconsistent findings on fathers; different researches are interested in different research question, so study is conducted in presuming father is primary or secondary, etc…: WEAKNESS.

If fathers have such a distinct role, why aren’t children without fathers different; Grossman (2002) found that fathers as secondary attachments were important in child’s development, but MacCallum and Golombok (2004) found that children growing up in single or same-sex households don’t develop differently: WEAKNESS.

Gender roles; men typically not ‘allowed’ to be nurturing due to traditional gender roles, and female hormone, oestrogen, create higher levels of nurturing, implying that  women are biologically pre-disposed to be primary attachment, so impacts attachment: WEAKNESS.


Rudolf Schaffer and Peggy Emerson aimed to investigate the formation of early attachment via a longitudinal study of sixty Glaswegian working-class children by observations and interviews. It was found that the caregiver who proved most interactive and sensitive to the infant signals and facial expressions had a higher tendency to become the primary attachment. It was concluded that there are four stages of attachment:


The baby is recognising and forming bonds with its carers, but still behaves similarly towards inanimate and non-inanimate objects. They show preference for familiar adults in that those individuals find it easier to calm them, and are also happier in


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