Developmental Psychology: Early Social Development

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What is Attachment?
An emotional bond between two people. It is a two-way process that endures over time. It leads to certain behaviours such as clinging and proximity-seeking, and serves the function of protecting an infant
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What is meant by the 'primary attachment figure'?
The person who has formed the closest bond with a child, demonstrated by the intensity of the relationship (usually child's biological mother)
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What is the Learning Theory?
Proposes that all behaviour is learned rather than inborn; Children are not born as 'blank slates' and everything they become can be explained in terms of the experiences they have; Behaviour learnt through either classical or operant conditioning
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Who was the learning theory put forward by?
Behaviourist who prefer to focus their explanations solely on behaviour
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What is 'Classical conditioning'?
Involves learning through association; Infant learns to associate mother with food and so forms an attachment bond
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Name one key study for classical conditioning
Ivan Pavlov: conducted research on the salivation reflex in dogs, recording how much they salivated each time they were fed; dogs came to associate sound of door opening with food (they learned a new stimulus response)
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What is 'Operant conditioning'?
Learning occurs when we are rewarded for doing something; behaviour is reinforced if produces pleasant consequence and so more probable that behaviour will be repeated; if results in unpleasant consequence=less likely to repeat
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Name one key study for operant conditioning
Dollard and Miller: Suggested when hungry infants are uncomfortable, creates drive to reduce discomfort; Food becomes primary reinforcer because reduces discomfort and mother becomes secondary reinforcer because they supply the food
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Comment of the validity of the Learning theory
LACKS VALIDITY: Largely based on studies on non-human animals; human behaviour may be similar in some ways but also different because human behaviour much more complex=oversimplified version of human behaviour.
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Strengths of the Learning theory
Provide adequate explanation of how attachment forms; we do learn through association and reinforcement
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Limitations of the Learning theory
It may be that attention and responsiveness from a caregiver are important rewards that create the bond
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Name one key study involving animals that counters the learning theory
Harlow: created two wire 'mothers'; one had a feeding bottle and the other was wrapped in cloth but offered no food. Monkeys spent most time with the cloth mother and would cling to it if frightened=contact comfort is important for attachment
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Name one key study involving humans that counters the learning theory
Schaffer&Emerson:observed 60 babies from working-class homes in Glasgow for a year: found infants were not most attached to the person who fed them but more attached to the person who was most responsive and who interacted with them the most
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What does Bowlby's attachment theory suggest?
Suggests attachment is adaptive and innate: attachment is a behavioural system that has evolves because of its survival value and its reproductive value (evolutionary theory)
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Explain Bowlby's attachment theory
Children had an innate drive to become attachment to a caregiver because of the long-term benefits (similar to imprinting): Infant stays with caregiver who feeds/protects them thus attachments are adaptive behaviours
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What is meant by the term 'innate'?
Refers to characteristics that are inborn, a product of genetic factors. Such traits may be apparent at birth or may appear later as a result of maturation
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What is meant by the term 'imprinting'?
An innate readiness to develop a strong bond with a mother figure, which takes place during a critical or sensitive period
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What did Bowlby mean by the 'sensitive period'?
A biologically determined period of time(the second quarter of the first year) when infants are most sensitive to the development of attachments: becomes increasingly difficult after this critical period
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Explain what Bowlby meant by 'caregiving is adaptive'
The drive to provide caregiving is innate because it is adaptive; infants born with certain social releasers which elicit caregiving
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What is meant by 'social releasers'?
A social behaviour/characteristic that elicits a caregiving reaction (e.g. crying, making cooing noises, the 'baby face')
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What is meant by 'secure base'?
Attachment is important for protection, and thus acts as a secure babe from which a child can explore the world and a safe haven to return to when threatened; attachment encourages independence rather than dependence
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What is meant by the term 'monotropy'?
The idea that the one relationship that the infant has with his/her primary attachment figure is of special significance in emotional development
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What is the 'Internal working model'?
A mental model of the world that enables individuals to predict and control their environment
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What is the 'Continuity hypothesis'?
The idea that emotionally secure infants ho on to be emotionally secure, trusting and socially confident adults
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Comment on the IDAs of Bowlby's attachment theory
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES:not all children form same attachment; CULTURAL VARIATIONS:in some cultures, dependence rather than independence is promoted by secure attachment (Japan: dependence is the desired outcome in social development)
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?:Imprinting in non-human animals
Lorenz: goslings imprinted on the first moving object they saw-likely to have evolved as a mechanism to protect young and enhance likelihood of survival (supports that imprinting is innate)
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?:Sensitive period
Hodges and Tizard: found that children who had formed no attachments had later difficulties with peers
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?: Universality
Tronick et al: studied African tribe Efe who live with extended family; infants looked after by all women but sleep with biological mother (still showed primary attachment despite difference in child-rearing practices)
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?: Monotropy and Hierarchy
Schaffer and Emerson: found that most infants had many attachments, however infants maintained one primary attachment (not always the person who fed them)=suggests quality of care more important than quantity
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?: Caregiver sensitivity
Schaffer and Emerson: observed that strongly attached infants had mothers who responded quickly to their demands and who offered their child the most interaction; infants who were weakly attached had mothers who failed to interact with them
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What are the strengths of Bowlby's attachment theory?: The Continuity hypothesis
Sroufe et al: Minnesota longitudinal study has followed participants from infancy to late adolescence and found continuity between early attachment and later emotional/social behaviour: Secure=popular=continuity
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What are the limitation of Bowlby's attachment theory?: Multiple attachments
Rutter: All attachment figures are equally important- all attachments integrated into one single working model. Prior&Glaser:concluded evidence still points to hierarchical model suggested by Bowlby's concept of monotropy
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What are the limitations of Bowlby's attachment theory?: Alternative explanation- the temperament hypothesis
Kagan: The belief that children form secure attachments simply because they have a more 'easy' temperament from birth, whereas innately difficult children are more likely to form insecure attachments and later relationships
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Evidence that supports the alternative hypothesis
Thomas&Chess:identified 3 infant personality types: easy, difficult & slow-to-warm-up. Bokhorst et al: found greater similarity in temperament for identical twins than non-identical: Belsky&Rovine:assessed babies 1-3days; link-behaviour&attachment
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Ainsworth's early studies: Uganda
2 year naturalistic observation of 26 mother-infant interactions from different villages;mothers sensitive to infants needs=securely attached infants who cried little/content to explore=independent
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Ainsworth's early studies: The Baltimore study
Observed 26 mothers and their infants from birth; final interview when infant 1 year old using strange situation; mothers of securely attached infants=behaved most sensitively during first 3months of life
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What is the 'Strange Situation'?
Tests the nature of attachments systematically; aims to see how infants behave under conditions of mild stress&novelty
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What was involved in the strange situation?
9x9 foot room; 8 episodes; recorded what infant did every 15 secs;scores behaviour intensity on scale of 1-7
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What did Ainsworth find in the strange situation?
Found 3 types of attachment that all had different characteristics that allowed identification
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What is a 'secure' attachment?
A strong and contented attachment of an infant to his/her caregiver, which develops as a result of sensitive responding by the caregiver to the infants needs; Are comfortable with social interactions&intimacy
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What is an 'insecure' attachment?
A form of attachment between infant and caregiver that develops as a result of the caregivers lack of sensitive responding to the infants needs; may be associated with poor subsequent cognitive&emotional development
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What is an 'insecure-avoidant' attachment?
Style of attachment characterises those children who tend to avoid social interaction and intimacy with others
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What is an 'insecure-resistant' attachment?
Attachment characterises those who both seek and reject intimacy and social interaction
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Give details on the additional attachment type that has been put forward
Main&Solomon: Disorganised type characterised by lack of consistent patterns of social behaviour; lack coherent strategy for dealing with the stress of seperation
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Evaluating types of attachment: VALIDITY
Did test what it set out to?: Only measured type of relationship (Main&Weston:depended on which parent infant was with=found difference in behaviours)
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Evaluating types of attachment: ETHICS
Mild distress: In episode 6, 20% of infants cried 'desperately' = has potential to cause distress and is ethically inappropriate to use with infants HOWEVER argued that no different from what they would experience in everyday life
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Evaluating types of attachment: RELIEABILITY
Observations made by different people may not be the same HOWEVER using inter-rater reliability found .94 agreement between raters (almost perfect)
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Effects of attachment type: Behaviour in later childhood
Secure=positive outcomes (less emotional dependent/higher achievement orientations/interpersonal harmony. Avoidant=later aggressiveness. Resistant=anxiety/withdrawn. Disorganised=hostile/aggressive
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Effects of attachment type: Adult romantic behaviour
Mother's behaviour creates internal working model of relationships that leads the infant to expect the same in later relationships
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Evidence for effects of attachment type: Adult romantic behaviour
Hazan&Shaver: found that there were characteristic patterns of later romantic behaviour associated with each early attachment type
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Factors influencing attachment type: Sensitivity
Secure=sensitive/accepting/cooperative/accessible mothers. Insecure=unresponsive mothers. Avoidant=rejecting/paid less attention mothers. Resistant=mothers occupied with routine activities
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Factors influencing attachment type: Maternal reflective functioning
Raval et al: Found negative correlations between measures of maternal sensitivity&strength of attachment. Slade: found greater role for maternal reflective functioning=suggests maternal reflective thinking rather than sensitivity may be central
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Evaluation of types of attachment: REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS
Cooper et al: 'Circle of Security' project teaches caregivers to understand their infants' signals of distress better and to increase understanding of anxiety=project showed decrease in number of caregivers classified as disorganised
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Cultural variations in attachment: cross cultural similarities
Ainsworth's Uganda study; Tronick's Efe study; Fox: studied infants raised on Israeli kibbutzim-infants looked aftein communal children's homes by metaplot (infants equally attached to metapelet&mother but greater reunion with mother=primary)
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Cultural variations in attachment: cross cultural differences (Grossmann and Grossmann)
Found German infants tended to be classified as insecure due to different childrearing practices (culture=keeps distance between parents and child so don't engage in proximity-seeking behaviours)
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Cultural variations in attachment: cross cultural differences (Takahasi)
Used strange situation on 60 Japanese infants&mothers=no evidence of insure-avoidant attachment + higher rates of insecure-resistant (Culture=children rarely leave mothers which explains why they were so distress when separated).
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Cultural variations in attachment: cross cultural differences (Van IJzenfoorn and Kroonenberg)
Conducted meta-analysis of 32 studies (2000 strange situation classifications in 8 countries)=found small variations between cultures/countries=global pattern across cultures similar to US (Secure attachment=norm)
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What is meant be the term 'collectivist culture'?
Any culture that places more value on the 'collective' rather than the individual, and on interdependence rather than independence (Opposite to individualist culture)
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Criticisms of research on cultural variations in attachment: Culture bias
Rothbaum et al: Contrasts between Western&Japanses culture: Sensitivity hypothesis (Ideas of autonomy differ); Continuity hypothesis; Secure base hypothesis (Japanese promote dependence and so don't encourage exploration)
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Criticisms of research on cultural variations in attachment: Indigenous theories of attachment
Rothbaum et al: suggested that psychologists should aim to produce set of indigenous theories which should include small set of universal principles
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Criticisms of research on cultural variations in attachment: Nation vs culture
Japan has sub-cultures, each of which may have differences in childrearing: Tokyo had similar distributions of attachment to Western studies but rural sample found more insecure-resistant
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Criticisms of research on cultural variations in attachment: Explaining cultural similarities
Van IJzendoorn&Kroonenberg: cross-cultural similarities found explained by effects of mass media (spreads ideas about parenting/all children exposed to similar influences)=similarities not due to innate biological influences but global culture
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Criticisms of research on cultural variations in attachment: Cross-cultural research
Studues of cultural variations conducted by indigenous researchers (psychologists native to the country in which the study is taking place)=tools used relate to their culture so may not apply to other cultures (e.g. independence and Japan)
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The effects of disruption
Psychologists studied children who has experienced prolonged separations from families=disturbed and lagged behind in intellectual development
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The effects of disruption: Case study example
Spitz&Wolf:Observed 100 'normal' children placed in institutions=severely distressed within a few months (Skeels&Dye:Children also scored low on intelligence tests)
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Study of children in brief separation: Laura
Robertsons: Landmark study; observed two-year-old Laura's life on hospital ward (admitted for 8day stay); alterating periods of calm & distress; begged parents to go home with them when they visted
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Study of children in brief separation: John
Robertson's:Residential nursery for 9days (mother had a baby); father visited regularly; attention seeks from nurses(failed)->found comfort in big teddy; breaks down refusing to drink/eat&doesnt greet dad; Outbursts on anger towards mum on 9th day
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Study of children in brief separation: Jane, Lucy, Thomas & Kate
Robertson's:Under 3 years & placed in foster care for few weeks;Robertson's maintained substitute emotional care/kept routines similar/father visited/Kate visited mum in hospital; Showed some distress signs but settled well
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Evaluation: Physical vs emotional disruption
Skeels&Dye supported claim there's a difference: some children who showed IQ deficits were transferred to a home for mentally retarded adults-IQ increased when tested again: Adults provided missing emotional care?
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Evaluation: Further support for Physical vs emotional disruption
Skodak and Skeels: some infants placed in home for mentally retarded: control group in orphanage: IQs of control after 1.5 years=decreased: IQ of transferred group=increased
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Evaluation: Reversing emotional disruption
Bohman&Sigvardsson: studied 600+ adopted children in Sweden at age 11: 26% were 'problem children': 10 years later no difference between them and rest of population: Negative effects can be reversed when alternative care provided
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Evaluation: The role of triggers
Bifulco et al: studied 249 women who lost mothers through separation or death before 17: Twice as likely to suffer depressive/anxiety disorders when adults: Early disruptions make children vulnerable to stressful events later in life if triggered
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Evaluation: Individual differences
Not all children effected by emotional disruption- Barrett:reviewed studies on separation: concluded securely attached children may cope well but insecure become distressed
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Evaluation: Real-world application
When Robertson showered his findings to hospitals there was outrage: in 1950s there were limitations for parents visiting children as they said it made them more distressed
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What is mean't by 'privation' ?
Lack of having any attachments due to the failure to develop such attachments during early life
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Where are children likely to experience privation?
Institutional care: A place dedicated to a particular task (e.g. looking after children awaiting adoption): People live there for a period of time
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Name one key study for privation in institutional care
Hodges and Tizard
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What did Hodges and Tizard involve?
Followed 65 British children from early life to adolescence who had been placed in institution when less than 4months: policy preventing caretakers forming attachments with children: 70% reported not able 'to care deeply about anyone'
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What did Hodges and Tizard find?
Children assessed regular intervals: 'restored' children less likely to form relationship with mother but adopted children as close as control group:both groups of ex-institutional children had problems with peers (less likely to be liked/bullies)
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What do their findings suggest?
Early privation had negative effect on the ability to form relationships even when given good subsequent emotional care-Supports Bowlby's view that failure to form during sensitive period has irreversible effect on emotional development
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What does 'Dis inhibited attachment' mean?
A type of disorganised attachment where children do not discriminate between people they choose as attachment figures: will treat near-strangers with inappropriate familiarity and may be attention seeking
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Name another study for privation that involves Romanian orphanages
Rutter et al:Studied 100 Romanian orphans age 4,6&11:Those adopted by British before 6months='normal' emotional development: Adopted after 6moths=disinhibited attachments+problems with peers
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What does Rutter et al's study suggest?
Long-term consequences are less severe than first thought if given the chance to form attachments: BUT, severe consequences if child is unable to form attachment
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Children with an attachment disorder have:
No preferred attachment figure: An inability to interact and relate to others that is evident before the age of 5: Experience of severe neglect or frequent change of caregiver
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What are the two types of attachment disorder?
Reactive or inhibited (shy/withdrawn/unable to cope with most social situations): Dis-inhibited attachment (over friendly/attention seeking)
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Evaluation: Poor parenting
Quinton et al: Compared 50 women who had been reared in institution with control group reared at home: When in their 20s, the ex-institutionalised women had difficulty acting as parent
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Evaluation: Deprivation dwarfism
Gardner: A girl born with malformation (had to be fed through tube) was never hugged due to fear of dislodging the tube: At 8 months, child became withdrawn/physically stunted=admitted to hospital where she thrived off attention & returned to normal
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Evaluation: Privation is only one factor
Turner&Lloyd: Romanian orphans case study-1/3 recovered well: Implies multiple risk factors (privation+poor subsequent care/parental disharmony) leads to negative outcomes
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Evaluation: Privation or rejection?
In Hodges and Tizard's study, cannot be sure children hadn't formed early attachments before care: Could be feeling of rejection that leads to negative outcomes
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Evaluation: Long-term effects
Studies could not get big enough group of ex-institutionalised people together in adult years: May be that they need more time to mature and learn how to cope with relationships=they may have fully recovered later in life
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Cases study for privation: Genie
Locked in a room until 13 1/2 by father because was thought retarded: couldn't stand erect/couldn't speak=never fully recovered socially (showed disinterest in others) which may be due to extreme early emotional privation OR found to late (too old)
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Cases study for privation: Czech Twins
Locked up until 7 by stepmother: couldn't talk: Cared for by loving sisters when found and recovered (near normal intellectual and social functioning): Age 20=above average intelligence+good relationships: Discovered young enough to recover?
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Evaluation: The usefulness of case studies
Each Individual has unique characteristics: Genie may have been retarded at birth/ may have formed relationship with mother: Czech twins may have formed attachments with each other: Difficult to reach conclusions
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What is 'Day care'?
Refers to a form of temporary care not given by family members or someone well known to the child, and is usually outside the home.
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Name some types of day care
Childminders (take care of small groups of children in their own home): Nursery
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Effects if day care: Aggression: The NICHD study
Studied 1000+ American families from 10 different locations: At age 5, data showed that the more time a child spends at day care, the more adults rated them as assertive/disobedient/aggressive and 3x more likely to show behaviour problems
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Re-interpret the NICHD results
83% of children who spent 10-30hours in day care did not show higher levels of aggression: Mother's sensitivity to child was better indicator of reported problem behaviours-more sensitive=less problematic: CORRELATION DOESN'T SHOW CAUSATION
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Effects if day care: Aggression: The EPPE study
Longitudinal study of 3000 children's development between 3&7: Children who spent longer in day care=rated as showing evidence of anti-social behaviours (aggression): The higher quality of day care=reduce negative effects
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What is 'Peer relations'?
Refer's to a child's ability to form close/satisfying relationship with other children. Such relationships enable children to develop important social skills
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Peer relations and attachment
Sroufe et al: Secure attachment linked to better peer relations: Belsky&Rovine:20+ hours or day care a week before 1=insecure attached: Alison Clarke-Steward: studied 150 children & found those in day care=more socially advanced in social development
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Peer relations and social strategies
Field found that the amount of time spent in full-time day care was positively correlated to the number of friends children had at school: Creps&Vernon found that children who started day care before 6months=more sociable than those who started later
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Limitation of Peer relations studies
Correlational: inappropriate to conclude that day care causes influence on peer relations, as there are many other explanations (e.g. may be that shy/unsocialable children kept at home by mothers but more outgoing children attend day care)
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What is the overall conclusion about day care influences
Clarke-Stewart: While day-care programmes have some direct effects on development, they clearly are not operating alone
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Mediating factors: Quality of care
Child seperated from primary attachment may have negative effects, but if there is a substitute emotional care, there may be no ill effects: Poor staff-to-child ration+high staff turnover=cannot form attachment=negative effect
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Mediating factors: Lack of commitment and interest
Caregivers do not provide same commitment and interest as parents: Howes&Hamilton found secure attachments occurred with only 50% of day-care staff but 70% with mothers: Gregg et al suggested low pay causes careers to feel less responsibility
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Mediating factors: Individual differences
Pennebaker et al: some children (shy nature) find day care harder to cope with: Egeland&Hiester found that insecurely attached children did best in day care because of compensatory care: Securely attached didn't need this care
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Mediating factors:Child's age and number of hours
Gregg et al found negative effects with those placed in day care under 18months BUT Clarke-Stewart found no difference between time spent in day care - lots of supporting evidence for no effect
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Mediating factors: Applications
Research serves no purpose if shows no clear effect of day care on children's social development BUT worth concentrating on factors associated with good outcomes (useful for day care)
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Influence of attachment research: Improving the quality of day care
Soho Family centre programme is based on attachment theory, ensuring each child gets close emotional relationships
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Evaluation: Support for using attachment research to improve quality of care
Bowlby's theory supports the usefulness of secondary attachment figures in providing continuous emotional care
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Influence of attachment research: Caring for children in hospitals
Visiting arrangements in hospital/institutional care/foster homes has been altered so that no child experiences physical separation from primary attachment for long periods of time
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Evaluation: Support for using attachment research to alter visiting arrangements
Robertsons' research showed that any negative effect of emotional disruption could be avoided if substitute emotional care was provided as well as links with existing attachment figures
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Influence of attachment research: Adoption
Before, mothers giving their children up for adoption were encouraged to care for a bit, meaning by the time the baby was adopted, sensitive period for forming attachments was over. Now, most babies are adopted within the first week of birth
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Evaluation: Support for using attachment research to influence the adoption process
Hodges&Tizard showed that a failure to form attachment in early life may have long-term consequences
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Influence of attachment research: Improving the quality of parenting
Circle of security programme set up to help caregivers learn how to respond more sensitively to their young children and thus promote secure attachment
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Evaluation: Support for using attachment research to improve quality of parenting
Quinton et al found that poor parenting may be related to parents' own childhood experiences
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Influence of day care research: Importance of high quality care
Field found that the greatest benefits of day care of peer relations were for those children in high-quality care, meaning in order to increase positive effects we need to maximise quality of care
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Evaluation: Support for using influence of day care research to improve quality of care
Bowlby & Ainsworth both suggested a healthy, secure attachment are formed with adults who respond with the greatest sensitivity to an infant's behaviour
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Influence of day care research: Good staff-to-child ratio
NICHD study found that day care staff could only provide sensitive high-quality care if the ratios were as low as 1:3
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Influence of day care research: Minimal staff turnover
Schaffer identified consistency of care as one of the most important factors in good outcomes: Allows child to form secondary emotional attachment
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Influence of day care research: Qualified and experienced staff
Sylva et al found that quality of care provided was positively correlated with the qualification levels of day care staff
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Card 2


What is meant by the 'primary attachment figure'?


The person who has formed the closest bond with a child, demonstrated by the intensity of the relationship (usually child's biological mother)

Card 3


What is the Learning Theory?


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Card 4


Who was the learning theory put forward by?


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Card 5


What is 'Classical conditioning'?


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