Explanations of attachment

What is attachment?
A close emotional bond between a caregiver and infant. Attached infants will show a desire to be close to their primary caregiver. They'll show distress when seperated and pleasure when reunited.
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What does the learning (behavouirst) approach link to?
Classical and Operant conditioning
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What is Classical conditioning?
This is about learning ASSOSIATIONS between different things in our environment. Getting food naturally gives a baby pleasure so the baby's desire is fulfilled when mother feeds it. Forms an ASSOSIATION between mother and food.
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What is operant conditioning?
Dollard and Miller argued babies what to remove the discomfort of being hungry so have a desire to get food. This naturally gives the baby pleasure. If they cry their mother will feed them - negative reinforcement. (when removed baby will cry)
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Who showed comfort is important in attachment?
HArlow (1959)
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What was Harlows method?
Lab experiment grown in isolation with two surrogate mothers- metal monkey mother with food and cloth mother. (Sometimes things would come out to scare the monkey)
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What were Harlows results?
Monkeys spent most of there time clinging to surrogate mother and only used mesh one to feed. The cloth surrogate seemed to give comfort to the monkeys. When they grew up showed social and emotional disruption
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What's the ethological approach?
Study of animals in their natural environment
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What did Konrad Lorenz discover?
Geese attach to the first thing they see first moving when they hatch; it then follows it round everywhere this is called IMPRINTING
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What did Konrad Lorenz do?
He made the geese follow him as they were the first thing he saw
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When does imprinting occur?
During the 'critical period' - in this case a few hours of hatching and it is a fast automatic porcess
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What is Bowlby's theory?
Imprinting occurs in humans as an innate drive as we have evolved to form an attachment to our primary caregiver
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What is 'Monotropy' and why is it useful in humans?
It is having one special attachment and it is useful as it has a survival value as staying close to the mother has benefits such as food and protection
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What does having a monotropy provide?
A safe base to explore our environment as a template to form all future relationships - we learn to trust and care for others
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When is the sensitive period?
Bowlby suggested it is within the second quarter of an infants first year - main attachments will be formed in this period
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What are social releasers?
A social behaviour or characteristic that causes a caregiving reaction (crying and smiling)
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What is the internal working model?
A model that an infant develops. It is the concepts about relationships that it learns through attachment. I.e. if a mother is inconsistent the child's relationships will also be inconsistent
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What evidence is there for Bowlby's theory?
Harlows study supports the idea we have develpoed the need to attach: emotional development may be damaged if an attachment isn't formed
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How does Harlow's study go against Bowlby's thoery?
When monkeys were raised in isolation they formed attachments to each other and did not show signs of emotional and developmental damage. This suggests that we do not need a primary caregiver going against the idea of monotropy
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What is support for the sensitive period?
Hodges and Tizzards study suggests that attachments can be hard to form after the sensitive period. They found that children who were put into institutional care as early as 4 months old, could not form proper attachments later in life
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What are the 4 types of attachment?
Secure attachment. Insecure attachment. Insecure-avoidant. Insecure-resistant.
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What is a secure attachment?
There's a strong bond between child and caregiver. If separated infant becomes distressed, if they're reunited the child is easily soothed by the caregiver
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What is insecure attachment?
Attachment can also be insecure. The bond between the child and caregiver is weaker, resulting from the caregivers lack of responding to the infants needs
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What is insecure avoidant?
style of attachment characterises those children who tend to avoid social interaction and intimacy with others
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What is insecure-resistant?
Is the style of attachment that characterises those who both seek and reject intimacy and social interaction
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Who created the strange situation?
Ainsworth et al (1978) - on American infants
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What is the method for the strange situation?
'controlled observation' of 12-18 month year old infants. 1 - played with mother 2 - parent sits with child while infant plays (secure base) 3 - stranger enters and plays with infant (stranger anxiety) 4 - parent leaves stranger offers comfort
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What is the method for strange situation? cont..
5 - parent enters offers comfort and stranger leaves 6- parent leaves infant alone (separation anxiety) 7- stranger enters (stranger anxiety) 8-parent returns
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What did they find?
70% securely attached, 15% insecure avoidant (didn't mind if left, stranger could comfort them) 15% insecure resistant (upset when mother left but couldn't comfort child)
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evaluation of Ainsworths strange situation?
Lab- well controlled but low ecological validity, mother may have complied to desirability bias and acted differently under controlled conditions
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What cross-cultural research was conducted?
Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg carried out a META-ANALYSIS of 32 strange situations in different countries
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What did Izjendoorn and Kroonenburg find?
Secure attachment was most common across countries, however insecure attachment although it didn't differ much varied across countries. In non-Western cultures, the dominant type of attachment was resistant.
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What does the learning (behavouirst) approach link to?


Classical and Operant conditioning

Card 3


What is Classical conditioning?


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Card 4


What is operant conditioning?


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Card 5


Who showed comfort is important in attachment?


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