Describe and evaluate animal studies into attachment

Rachael McDermott
Mind Map by Rachael McDermott, updated more than 1 year ago
Rachael McDermott
Created by Rachael McDermott almost 6 years ago
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AS - Level Psychology Mind Map on Describe and evaluate animal studies into attachment, created by Rachael McDermott on 02/08/2016.

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Describe and evaluate animal studies into attachment
  1. Lorenz (1935)
    1. AIM: to investigate the mechanisms of imprinting, where the young follow and form attachment to the first large, moving object they meet.
      1. PROCEDURE: Clutch of eggs divided into 2 halves
        1. Condition 1: left to hatch with mother (control group)
          1. Condition 2: hatched in an incubator, first moving thing seen was Lorenz
            1. RESULTS: Control group followed mother goose everywhere, and Condition 2 followed Lorenz.
              1. Lorenz marked goslings according to group and let them out together from an upturned box.
                1. Each gosling went to its 'mother' figure- Lorenz's goslings showed no recognition of biological mother!
                  1. CONCLUSION: Lorenz's findings therefore prove that Imprinting is a key stage in attachment, as the goslings will identify their mother figure in whoever they are first exposed to. His research also demonstrated that this can only occur within a specific time period, verifying from species to species, known as the Critical Period.
                2. VARIATION: Lorenz got gosling/ ducklings to imprint on intimate objects (Wellington boots!)
                  1. CRITICAL PERIOD: L's other studies found that strongest tendency was to imprint between 13-16 hours after hatching.
                    1. After 32 hours, imprinting tendency had passed (no attachment occurs).
              2. EVALUATION
                1. STRENGTHS
                  1. Supported by research evidence: e.g. Guilton (1966) showed that leghorn chickens could become imprinted on rubber gloves when exposed to them for feeding in C. period. This supports view that animals are not born with pre-disposition to imprint on a specific type of object, therefore incr. reliability of Lorenz's findings.
                    1. Important information gained: Lorenz's findings of a critical period influenced Bowlby's idea of a critical period occurring in human infant attachment. For example, Bowlby demonstrated that this stage of attachment was crucial and highly influential in overall human development. Therefore, Lorenz's study was very important as its results could be extrapolated to humans.
                    2. WEAKNESSES
                      1. Generalizing from bird to human: his findings may improve understanding, but the mammalian attachment system is different to that of birds. For example, mammalian mothers are more emotional in attachment , and mammals may be able to attachment at any time! Therefore, the animal studies may be limited in their influence, as they lack population validity. Should still seek confirmation from human testing...
                        1. Questionable conclusions: Lorenz concluded that imprinting had permanent consequences for later mating behaviour (other study). However, Guiton et al (1966) found that although chickens tried to mate with rubber gloves from feeding, with experience they would later change to their own species. Suggests that impacts of imprinting are not permanent, therefore Lorenz may suffer low validity.
                    3. Harlow (1958)
                      1. AIM: to investigate the mechanisms by which newborn rhesus monkeys bond with their mothers.
                        1. PROCEDURE: 16 Rhesus monkeys were separated from their mothers immediately after birth and reared in cages, with access to 2 surrogate mothers. Mother 1= wire and Mother 2= cloth-covered. Half could get milk from Mother 1 (wire) and half could get milk from Mother 2 (cloth). Monkeys the studied for various time spans.
                          1. RESULTS: Both groups spent more time with cloth monkey (even when no milk). Second group would only go to wire mother for milk when hungry. Would then return to cloth mother after feeding. (22hrs of day spent here).
                            1. When frightening object placed in cage, monkey took refuge with cloth-covered mother.
                              1. Infant would only explore more in presence of cloth-covered mother.
                                1. Observed behavioural difference between those with wire mother and those with real mother: 'adopted' monkeys = more TIMID, difficulty behaving properly with other monkeys (AGGRESSIVE), difficulty MATING and INADEQUATE MOTHERS (if female- sometimes kill offspring!)
                                  1. This behaviour only found in those who were left with surrogate for +90 days.
                                    1. For those less than 90 days, effects were reversible when in normal environment (attach to actual monkey).
                                  2. CONCLUSION: Food is not most important factor in attachment, "contact comfort" is. Maternal deprivation leads to emotional damage, but is reversible if changes made within critical period (90 days). After 90 days, completely irreversible.
                              2. EVALUATION
                                1. STRENGTHS
                                  1. Theoretical value: showed that feeding was not the only cause of attachment, shed light on concept of contact comfort and demonstrated importance of quality of early relationships for social development. Therefore it had high int. validity, proved what it sought to (that attachment is complex and fundamental).
                                    1. Practical application: findings can be used to understand issues of child neglect, emphasising importance of social work. Also used to better the care for monkeys in captivity, as they can be best served in zoos and breeding programs. Therefore, high ecological validity.
                                    2. WEAKNESSES
                                      1. Ethical issues: the treatment of the monkeys caused psychological harm. For example, they can be seen to show discomfort in the videos, and were left emotional damaged without mother. Harlow even called wire monkey the "iron maiden". Therefore it can be said that the study isn't completely just in its methods.
                                        1. Applicability
                                          1. Monkeys and humans are different species, so its arguable that humans behave differently. Example: monkeys are more primitive and develop at a faster rate. Therefore attachment may vary, and the study lacks population validity.
                                            1. However, monkeys and humans are closely linked physically and emotionally. Both are mammalian and therefore their attachment is generally emotional. Arguably more valid than Lorenz's.
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