Luca Hargitai
Mind Map by Luca Hargitai, updated more than 1 year ago
Luca Hargitai
Created by Luca Hargitai over 5 years ago


This is the third topic from the first paper of AS AQA Psychology (new specification).

Resource summary

  1. What is attachment?
    1. Attachment is a close two-way emotional bond between two individuals in which each person sees the other as essential for their own emotional security.
      1. Attachment in humans takes a few months to develop.
        1. We know that an attachment has formed when people display:
          1. Proximity - wanting to stay physically close to the person to whom we are attached.
            1. Separation Distress - feeling distressed (anxious) when the attachment figure leaves our presence.
              1. Secure-base Behaviour - even when we are independent of our attachment figures, we tend to make regular contact with them.
                1. Children display secure-base behaviour when they regularly return to their attachment figures while playing.
            2. Animal Studies of Attachment
              1. HARLOW
                1. The Importance of Contact Comfort
                  1. Procedures
                    1. Harlow (1958) tested the idea that a soft object serves some of the functions of the mother.
                      1. In one experiment, he reared 16 baby rhesus monkeys with two wire model 'mothers'.
                        1. In one condition, milk was dispensed by a plain wire mother whereas in another condition milk was dispensed by a cloth covered mother.
                      2. Findings
                        1. Harlow found that the baby monkeys cuddled the soft object in preference to the wire one.
                          1. The monkeys also sought comfort from the cloth-covered 'mother' when frightened, regardless of which dispensed milk.
                            1. This showed that 'contact comfort' was more important to the monkeys than food when it came to attachment behaviour.
                        2. Maternally Deprived Monkeys as Adults
                          1. Harlow and his colleagues also followed the monkeys who had been deprived of a 'real' mother into adulthood to see if early maternal deprivation had a permanent effect.
                            1. The researchers found severe consequences:
                              1. The monkeys rare with the wire mothers only were the most dysfunctional.
                                1. However, even those reared with a soft toy substitute did not develop normal social behaviour.
                                  1. They were more aggressive and less sociable than other monkeys.
                                    1. They bred less often than is typical of monkeys as they were unskilled at mating.
                                      1. As mothers, some of the deprived monkeys neglected their young, others even attacked or killed their children.
                                    2. Harlow's Critical Period for Normal Development
                                      1. Based on his study of maternal deprivation in rhesus monkeys, Harlow concluded that there was a critical period for normal development.
                                        1. A mother-figure had to be introduced to an infant monkey within 90 days for an attachment to form.
                                          1. After this time attachment was impossible and the damage done by early deprivation was irreversible.
                                      2. LORENZ
                                        1. Imprinting
                                          1. Procedures
                                            1. Lorenz set up a classic experiment in which he randomly divided a clutch of goose eggs.
                                              1. Half of the eggs were hatched with the mother goose in their natural environment while the other half hatched in an incubator where the first moving object they saw was Lorenz.
                                              2. Findings
                                                1. The incubator group followed Lorenz everywhere whereas the control group (which hatched in the presence of their mother), followed the mother goose.
                                                  1. When the two groups were mixed up, the control group continued to follow the mother goose and the experimental group continued to follow Lorenz.
                                                  2. Conclusions
                                                    1. This phenomenon is called imprinting whereby (bird) species that are mobile from birth attach to and follow the first moving object they see.
                                                      1. Lorenz identified a critical period in which imprinting needs to take place.
                                                        1. Depending on the species this can be as brief as a few hours after hatching (or birth).
                                                          1. For the geese, the critical period was between 12 and 17 hours from hatching.
                                                            1. If imprinting doesn't occur within the critical period, Lorenz found that the chicks didn't attach themselves to a mother-figure.
                                                      2. Sexual Imprinting
                                                        1. Lorenz also investigated the link between imprinting and adult mate preferences.
                                                          1. He observed that birds which imprinted on a human would often later display courtship behaviour towards humans.
                                                      3. Schaffer's Stages of Attachment
                                                        1. Stage 1: Asocial Stage
                                                          1. First few weeks.
                                                            1. This is not really an asocial stage as the baby is forming bonds with carers.
                                                              1. The baby's behaviour to non-human objects and humans is quite similar.
                                                                1. The baby shows some preference to familiar adults - those individuals find it easier to calm them.
                                                                  1. The baby is happier when in the presence of other humans.
                                                                  2. Stage 2: specific Attachment
                                                                    1. The baby shows preference for people rather than inanimate objects and recognises familiar adults.
                                                                      1. From 2 to 7 months.
                                                                        1. The baby accepts cuddles from any adult and doesn't usually show separation distress or stranger anxiety.
                                                                          1. The baby's attachment behaviour is indiscriminate because it is no different towards any one person.
                                                                          2. Stage 3: Specific Attachment
                                                                            1. Around 7 months.
                                                                              1. The baby starts to display stranger anxiety, and separation anxiety when separated from the primary attachment figure (who is the biological mother in 65% of the cases).
                                                                                1. The baby forms a specific attachment to the primary attachment figure (who isn't necessarily the person with whom the baby spends the most time, but the one who offers the most interaction and responds to the baby's signals the best).
                                                                                2. Stage 4: Multiple Attachments
                                                                                  1. Shortly after forming a specific attachment to one adult, the baby forms multiple attachments to people with whom they regularly spend time
                                                                                    1. In Schaffer and Emerson's study, 29% of babies formed secondary attachments within one month of forming a primary (specific) attachment.
                                                                                      1. The majority of babies develop multiple attachments bu the age of one.
                                                                                    2. Caregiver - Infant Interactions
                                                                                      1. RECIPROCITY
                                                                                        1. Reciprocity - a description of how two people interact. Mother-infant interaction is reciprocal because both the mother and the infant respond to each other's signals and both elicit a response from the other.
                                                                                          1. From birth, mother and baby spend a lot of time together in intense and pleasurable interaction.
                                                                                            1. Babies have periodic alert phases and they signal that they are ready for interaction.
                                                                                              1. According to Feldman and Eidelman (2007), mothers pick up on and respond to these signals around 2/3 of the the time.
                                                                                              2. At 3 months, interaction between mother and baby becomes more frequent and involves close attention to each other's verbal signals and facial expressions (Feldman, 2007).
                                                                                                1. The baby takes an active role as both the mother and infant can initiate interaction and they appear to take turns in doing so.
                                                                                                2. INTERACTIONAL SYNCHRONY
                                                                                                  1. Interactional Synchrony - Mother and infant reflect both the actions and the emotions of the other, and do so in a coordinated way.
                                                                                                    1. Feldman (2007) defined this as "the temporal coordination of micro-level social behaviour".
                                                                                                    2. Metzoff and Moore (1977) observed the beginnings of interactional synchrony in infants as young as 2 weeks old.
                                                                                                      1. As an adult displayed one of three facial expressions or one of three distinctive behaviours, the reaction of the baby was filmed and identified by independent observers.
                                                                                                        1. An association was found between the gesture or expression that the adults had displayed and the actions of the babies.
                                                                                                        2. Interactional synchrony is believed to be important in the development of mother - infant interactions.
                                                                                                          1. Isabelle et al. (1989) observed 30 mothers and infants together, assessing their degree of synchrony and the quality of mother - infant attachment.
                                                                                                            1. They found that high levels of synchrony were associated with better quality mother - infant attachment.
                                                                                                      2. Attachment Figures
                                                                                                        1. PARENT - INFANT ATTACHMENT
                                                                                                          1. Typically assumed to be mother - infant attachment.
                                                                                                            1. In their 1964 study, Schaffer and Emerson found that 65% of the babies form their first attachment to their biological mothers.
                                                                                                              1. The babies formed secondary attachments to the rest of their family within a few weeks or months.
                                                                                                                1. 75% of babies formed an attachment to their fathers by 18 months. The researchers knew that an attachment to the father had been formed because the infants displayed separation distress when the fathers left the room.
                                                                                                          2. ROLE OF THE FATHER
                                                                                                            1. Grossman conducted a longitudinal study in 2002 in which he investigated the relationship between the behaviour (role) of each parent and the quality of a child's attachment as a teenager.
                                                                                                              1. He found that the quality of infant attachment to the mother but NOT the father was related to children's attachment in their teens.
                                                                                                                1. This suggests that the father's attachment to the infant was less important.
                                                                                                                2. However, Grossman found that the quality of a father's play with the infant was related to the quality of the child's attachment in adolescence.
                                                                                                                  1. This suggests that the father's role is more to do with play and stimulation and less so with nurturing.
                                                                                                              2. FATHER AS PRIMARY CAREGIVER
                                                                                                                1. When fathers take on the role of primary caregiver, they adopt behaviour more typical of mothers
                                                                                                                  1. Tiffany field (1978) demonstrated this in a study where she filmed 4-moths-old infants in face-to-face interaction with primary-caregiver mothers, primary-caregiver fathers and secondary-caregiver fathers.
                                                                                                                    1. She found that, like primary caregiver mothers, primary caregiver fathers spent more time smiling at, imitating and holding their babies than secondary caregiver fathers.
                                                                                                                      1. This behaviour appears to be key in building attachment with infants.
                                                                                                                      2. The results of her study suggest that the key to attachment relationships is level of responsiveness and not the gender of the parent.
                                                                                                                2. Theories on Attachment
                                                                                                                  1. THE LEARNING THEORY
                                                                                                                    1. Opernat Conditioning
                                                                                                                      1. Operant conditioning can explain why babies cry for comfort - an important behaviour in building attachment.
                                                                                                                        1. Crying leads to a response in the caregiver (e.g.: feeding).
                                                                                                                          1. As long as the caregiver provides the correct response, crying is reinforced and the baby then directs crying for comfort towards the caregiver, who responds with comforting 'social suppressor' behaviour.
                                                                                                                            1. The reinforcement is a two-way process because the baby is positively reinforced while the caregiver is negatively reinforced (the baby stops crying once he/she has been fed or comforted).
                                                                                                                              1. The interplay of mutual reinforcement strengthens the attachment.
                                                                                                                              2. Classical Conditioning
                                                                                                                                1. 1. In the case of attachment, food serves as an unconditioned stimulus.
                                                                                                                                  1. 2. Being fed gives us pleasure, which is the unconditioned response.
                                                                                                                                    1. 3. The caregiver starts as a neutral stimulus.
                                                                                                                                      1. 4. When the same person provides food over time, they become associated with FOOD so when the baby sees the person, there is an immediate expectation of food.
                                                                                                                                        1. 5. The neutral stimulus has become a conditioned stimulus.
                                                                                                                                          1. 6. Once conditioning has taken place, the sight of the caregiver produces a conditioned response of pleasure.
                                                                                                                                          2. Attachment as a Secondary Drive
                                                                                                                                            1. Part of the Learning Theory is 'drive reduction'.
                                                                                                                                              1. Hunger is the primary drive - an innate biological motivator and we are motivated to eat to reduce our hunger.
                                                                                                                                                1. Sears et al. (1957) suggested that, as caregivers provide food, the primary drive of hunger becomes generalised to the caregiver.
                                                                                                                                                  1. It follows that attachment is a secondary drive, learned through association to the satisfaction of the primary drive.
                                                                                                                                              2. BOWLBY'S THEORY
                                                                                                                                                1. Evolutionary Explanation
                                                                                                                                                  1. Attachment is an innate system that gives us a survival advantage.
                                                                                                                                                    1. Attachment (and imprinting in animals) evolved because they ensure that young animals stay close to their caregivers and this protects them from hazards.
                                                                                                                                                    2. Monotropy
                                                                                                                                                      1. Bowlby's theory is mono tropic because he placed great emphasis on a child's attachment to one particular caregiver.
                                                                                                                                                        1. He believed that this particular attachment is different from and more important than others.
                                                                                                                                                          1. Bowlby called this person the 'mother' but was clear that it need not be the biological mother.
                                                                                                                                                          2. He believed that the more time the baby spent with this primary attachment figure, the better.
                                                                                                                                                            1. The law of continuity: the more constant and predictable a child's care, the better the quality of their attachment.
                                                                                                                                                              1. The law of accumulated separation: the effects of every separation from the mother add up.
                                                                                                                                                            2. Social Releasers
                                                                                                                                                              1. Bowlby suggested that babies are born with a set of innate 'cute' behaviours (social releasers) which encourage attention from adults.
                                                                                                                                                                1. For example, smiling, cooing and gripping.
                                                                                                                                                                2. The purpose of social releasers is to activate the adult attachment system.
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Bowlby recognised that attachment is is a reciprocal process because both mother and baby have an innate predisposition to become attached and social releasers trigger this response in caregivers.
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Critical Period
                                                                                                                                                                    1. Bowlby proposed that there is a critical period around two years when the infant attachment system is active.
                                                                                                                                                                      1. He viewed this as more of a sensitive period as a child is maximally sensitive at the age of two.
                                                                                                                                                                        1. If attachment is not formed in this time, a child will find it much harder to form one later.
                                                                                                                                                                        2. Internal Working Model
                                                                                                                                                                          1. Bowlby proposed that a child forms a mental representation of their relationship with their primary caregiver.
                                                                                                                                                                            1. This is called an internal working model because it serves as a model for what relationships are like, so it has a powerful effect on the nature of the child's future relationships.
                                                                                                                                                                            2. The internal working model also affects the child's later ability to be a parent them-self.
                                                                                                                                                                              1. People tend to base their parenting behaviour on their own experiences of being parented.
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