Attachment Definitions

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What is reciprocity?
A description of how two people interact. Mother-infant interaction is reciprocal in that both the infant and the mother respond to each other's signals and each elicits a response from the other
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What is Interactional synchrony?
Mother and infant reflect both the action and emotions of the other and do this in a synchronised way
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What is attachment?
A close two-way emotional bond between two individuals in which each individual sees the other as essential for their emotional security. Attachment in humans takes a few months to develop.
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What is proximity?
People try to stay physically close to those to whom which they are attached
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What is Separation distress?
People are distressed when an attachment figure leaves their presence
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What is Secure-base behaviour?
Even when we are independent of our attachment figures we tend to make regular contact with them. If infants display secure-based behaviour when they regularly return to their attachment figure while playing
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What is an alert phase?
a signal that they are ready for interaction
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What is a secondary attachment?
An attachment formed with someone whom is important in your life but is seen more as a fun alternative rather than a secure base.
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What is primary attachment?
The attachment with the person whom is most involved in your life and is most sensitive to your needs
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What is a longitudinal study?
An observational research method in which data is gathered over a period of time
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What are Stages of attachment?
Many developmental theories identify a sequence of qualitatively different behaviours linked to specific ages. In stages of attachment some characteristics of the infant's behaviour changes as the infant gets older
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What are multiple attachments?
Attachments to two or more people. Most babies appear to develop multiple attachments once they have formed true attachments to a main carer
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What is stranger anxiety?
A form of distress that children experience when exposed to people unfamiliar to them.
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What are symptoms of stranger anxiety?
Becoming quiet, staring at stranger, verbally protesting, crying and hiding behind parents
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What is Stage 1 of attachment?
Asocial stage (first few weeks) - recognising and forming bonds with carer. But behaviour towards non-human objects and humans are similar
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What is Stage 2 of attachment?
Indiscriminate attachment (2-7 months) - more observable behaviour. Preference for people rather than objects. Recognise and prefer familiar adults. No separation anxiety of stranger anxiety
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What is Stage 3 of attachment?
Specific attachment (from around 7 months) - the majority of babies start to display anxiety towards strangers, display separation anxiety. Formed specific attachments
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What is Stage 4 of attachment?
Multiple attachments - After babies start to show attachment behaviour towards one adult they then extend this attachment behaviour to multiple attachments with other adults with whom they spend time with.
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What is an Animal study?
Studies carried out on non-human animal species rather than on humans, either for ethical or practical reasons - practical because animals breed faster and researchers are interested in seeing results across more than one generation of animals
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What is imprinting?
Bird species that are mobile from birth (like geese and ducks) attach to an follow the first moving object they see.
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What is a critical period?
A period in which imprinting needs to take place. Depending on species
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What is Social referencing?
The degree that a child looks at carer to check how they should respond to (secure base)
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How long is the critical period?
12-17 hours after hatching
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What is sexual imprinting?
Geese that imprinted on Lorenz developed sexual behaviour towards him.
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What is contact comfort?
The comfort felt by Harlow's monkeys to the cloth mother
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What is maternal deprivation?
The emotional and intellectual consequences of separation between a child and his/ her mother or mother substitute. Bowlby proposed that continuos care from a mother is essential.
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What are the long term consequences of maternal deprivation?
Delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression, affectionless psychopathy
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What are the 3 progressive stages of distress?
Protest, Despair and Detachment
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How long was the critical period for Harlow's monkeys to for an attachment?
A mother figure had to be introduced to an infant monkey within 90 days, after this attachment was impossible
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What is Learning theory?
A set of theories from the behaviourist approach to psychology, that emphasise the role of learning in the acquisition of behaviour. Explanations include classical and operant conditioning
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What is classical conditioning?
Learning to associate two stimuli together so that we begin to respond to one in the same way as we already respond to each other.
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What is an unconditioned stimulus?
The natural stimulus that has no conditioned response
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What is an unconditioned response?
The natural response to an unconditioned stimulus
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What is a Neutral stimulus?
The thing that produces a neutral response
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What is a conditioned stimulus?
The stimulus that was the neutral stimulus
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What is a conditioned response?
The result of the conditioned stimulus
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What is the social learning theory?
Learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement
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What is monotropic?
A term sometimes used to describe Bowlby's theory. The mono means 'one' and indicates that one particular attachment is different from all others and of central importance to the child's development
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What is the Internal working model?
The mental representations we all carry with us of our attachment to our primary caregiver. They are important in affecting our future relationships because they carry our perception of what relationships are like
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What are social releasers?
Babies are born with a set of innate 'cute' behaviours like smiling, big eyes and a small chin as well as gripping adults hands
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What is the Strange situation?
A controlled observation designed to test attachment security. Infants are assessed on their response to playing in an unfamiliar room, being left alone, left with a stranger and being reunited with a caregiver
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What is a secure attachment?
Generally through of as the most desirable attachment type, associated with psychologically healthy outcomes. In the Strange Situation this is shown by moderate stranger and separation anxiety and ease of comfort at reunion
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What is an Insecure-avoidant attachment?
An attachment type characterised below anxiety but weak attachment. In the Strange Situation this is how by low stranger and separation anxiety and little response to reunion- an avoidance of the caregiver
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What is an Insecure-resistant attachment?
An attachment type characterised by strong attachment and high anxiety. In the Strange Situation this is shown by high levels of stranger and separation anxiety and by resistance to be comforted at reunion
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What is Proximity seeking?
An infant with a good attachment will stay fairly close to the caregiver
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What is exploration and secure-base behaviour?
Good attachment enables a child to feel confident to explore, using caregiver as a secure base i.e. a point of contact that will make them feel safe
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What is response to reunion?
With the caregiver after separation for a short period of time under controlled conditions
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Which Type is Secure attachment?
B (Be secure)
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Which Type is Insecure-avoidant attachment?
A (A for avoidant)
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Which Type is Insecure-resistant attachment?
C (C like the curve of a childs back when they are resisting from the mother on reunion)
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What are behavioural categories?
Key Behaviours or collections of behaviour that the researcher conducting the observation will pat attention to and record
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What does ethnocentric mean?
Evaluating other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standard and customs of one's own culture
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What was the fourth attachment type introduced by Solomon (1986)?
Disorganised (D for Disorganised)
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What are Cultural variations?
Culture refers to the norms and values that exist within any group of people. Cultural variations then are the differences in norms and values that exist between people in different groups
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Which attachment type is the largest in all countries?
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Which Country had the largest secure attachment?
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Which country had the smallest secure attachment?
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Which country has the largest insecure-avoidant attachment?
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Why does Germany have the largest Insecure-avoidant attachment types?
Germany believes that independent behaviour is a positive trait
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Which country has the largest insecure-resistant attachment?
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What does innate mean?
Existing in one from birth
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What does Institutionalisation mean?
A term for the effects of living in a institutional setting. It refers to a place like a hospital ir an orphanage where children live for long periods of time. Little emotional care.
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What is an Orphan study?
Children placed in care because their parents can't look after them.
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Why are orphan studies used?
To show the effects of deprivation
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What is a Childhood relationship?
Affiliations with other people in childhood, including friends and classmates and with adults such as teachers
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What is an Adult relationship?
Those relationships the child goes on to have later in life as an adult. Friendships and working relationships but most importantly relationships with romantic partners and the person's child.
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What is Operant conditioning?
Crying behaviour reinforced positively for infant and negatively for caregiver
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Card 2


What is Interactional synchrony?


Mother and infant reflect both the action and emotions of the other and do this in a synchronised way

Card 3


What is attachment?


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Card 4


What is proximity?


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Card 5


What is Separation distress?


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