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Flashcards in Attachment Deck (18)
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An emotional bond between two people. Two-way process that endures over time


Caregiver-infant interaction

Traditional perception of childhood saw babies in a passive role receiving care from an adult
However babies do interact with their caregiver in a meaningful way, which leads to the forming of an attachment



Infants coordinate actions with caregivers like a convo
Move in rhythm when interacting taking turns


Brazelton (1978)

Suggests that this rhythm is important for later communication. The regularity of an infants signals allows a caregiver to anticipate the infants behaviour and respond appropriately


Interactional synchrony

Refers to imitation of facial and body movement
Metzoff and Moore (1977) found that babies as young as 2/3 weeks imitate specific facial and hand gestures
Demonstrated this with 3 day olds (1983)


Schaffer and Emerson - procedure (1964)

60 babies from working class families, Glasgow
Once a month for 1st year, then 18 months
Asked mother same questions about infants response to 7 everyday situations
Asked to rate intensity (1-4)
Measured stranger anxiety towards interviewer


Evaluation of Schaffer and Emerson (1964)

Small sample
Individualistic culture
Large gap between visits
Social desirability
Relies on mothers memories
Demand characteristics
Same interviewer - not a stranger


Attachment figures

Primary attachment figures
Secondary attachment figure


Schaffer and Emerson - findings (1964)

Majority of babies become attached to mother first (7 months)
Secondary attachment is formed few weeks/months later
75% formed attachment to father by 18 months


Why fathers are secondary attachment figures

Fathers spend less time with kids - Lambs study disproves; little relationship between father accessibility and infant-father attachment
Men lack emotional sensitivity - Heerman et al (1994) found men les sensitive to infancy cues


Grossman (2002)

Carried out longitudinal study
Quality of infant attachments to mother was related to attachments formed in adolescence
Relationship between fathers play with infants and the quality of their adolescent attachments


Role of secondary caregiver

Research has consistently shown that fathers are more playful, physically active and generally better at providing challenging situations


Evaluation of attachment figures

Nature vs. Nurture - culture or lack of oestrogen
Inconsistent findings - contradicting research
Father less children turn out fine - Field (1978); filmed 4 month old babies in face-to-face interactions with primary caregiver mothers and fathers (v. similar)
Socially sensitive research


4 stages of attachment

Asocial stage
Indiscriminate stage
Specific attachment
Multiple attachment


Asocial stage

Up to 6 weeks
Similar response to people and objects
Reciprocity and international synchrony helps establish relationships
Show preference to certain adults (those who calm them)
Show preference for social stimuli


Indiscriminate stage

6 weeks to 6 months
Can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people
Prefer humans and become more social
Distinctive feature - general sociability
No stranger or separation anxiety


Specific attachment

7 months onwards
Begin to show distinctively diff. sort of protest when a particular person put them down
Begins to show stranger anxiety
Forms specific attachment to person who offers most interaction and responds to baby’s cues with most skill


Multiple attachments

10-11 months onwards
Infant forms attachments to other adults with whom they regularly spend time (secondary attachments)
Display separation anxiety to all attachment figures