One person responds to the other.

Caregiver-infant interactions: Reciprocity

From the age of 1-month interaction between parent and child becomes increasingly reciprocal.

Tronick did an experiment where he asked mothers who had been in a dialogue with their baby to stop moving and maintaining a static, unsmiling expression. Babies would tempt the mother into interactions by smiling and would become puzzled and increasingly


Brazleton described mother-infant interactions as a 'dance' because it looks like a coupe's dance where each partner responds to each other's movement.


Interactional synchrony

Mirroring actions

Caregiver-infant interactions: Interactional synchrony

Two people are synchronised when they carry out the same action simultaneously. For mother and infant its when they mirror each other's action. Interactional synchrony is important in the development of an attachment between mother and infant.

Meltzof and Moore observed Interactional synchrony in infants as young as two weeks old. Using independent observers, they found that babies could imitate both facial and manual gestures of an adult e.g mouth opening and tongue protrusion. This may serve


Caregiver-infant interactions strengths

?One strength is that the observations were controlled. The procedure was well-controlled with multiple angles capturing expressions. this ensures that fine detail of behaviour is recorded for later analysis. Furthermore, babies don't care or know that th

?Another strength is reinforcing findings. A couple of psychologists wanted to investigate if the behaviour was intentional. They used two inanimate objects with one stimulating tongue movement and another mouth opening/closing. They found that infants of


Caregiver-infant interactions weaknesses

?One weakness is the difficulty of reliably testing the infant's behaviour. Infant's mouths are in fairly constant motion and the expressions that are tested occur frequently, so it makes it difficult to distinguish between general activity and specific i

?Another weakness is cultural bias as interactional synchrony has not been found in all cultures. This weakens the support for the idea that it is necessary for attachment formation.


A psychologist reported that Kenyan mothers have little physical contact with their infants, but such infants have a high proportion of secure attachments. Therefore it cannot be generalised, meaning its not universal.


Schaffer and Emerson - Stages of attachment study

?????Aim: to investigate the formation of early attachments, which age they develop, their emotional intensity and to whom they were directed.

Procedure: 60 babies from Glasgow from working-class families. Babies and mothers were visited every month for the first year and again at 18 months. The interviewer asked the mother questions about their baby's behavior, measuring separation and stranger


?????Findings: By week 40, 80% of the babies had a specific attachment and almost 30% displayed multiple attachments.


Stages of developing of attachment

1. Asocial stage(first few weeks) - Baby's behaviour towards inanimate objects and humans is quite similar.

2. Indiscriminate attachment(2-7 months) - Babies display more observable social behaviour, with a preference for people rather than objects. They do not show stranger or separation anxiety.


3. Specific attachment(around 7 months) - Stranger and separation anxiety is not experienced. It's said that the baby has formed a specific attachment with the primary caregiver (often the mother).


4. Multiple attachments(one year) - Forming a second attachment with other adults, In their S and E study, 29% of babies had multiple attachments within a month of forming a primary attachment, by one year most babies had multiple attachments.


Stages of attachment strengths

?One strength is that the study was carried out in the families' own homes. The observations of the babies were unlikely to be affected by the presence of the observer as babies do not care or know that they are being observed. Therefore, the behaviour of

Stages of attachment weaknesses

?One weakness is issues with validity, the data collected by Schaffer and Emerson is based on mothers' reports of their infants. Some mothers might have shown social desirability and suggested they were sensitive to their infants' protests when they were

?Another weakness is the limited sample characteristics. Whilst the number of the sample size was large the fact that all the families involved were from the same distinct and social class in the same city is an issue. For example, different social classe


?A further issue is that the study took place 50 years ago, Child-rearing practices change across historical periods. In addition, research shows that the number of dads who chose to stay at home and care for their children and families had quadrupled in


Multiple attachment

Whilst it is not disputed that most children form multiple attachments, what is disputed is the importance of these different attachment figures. John Bowlby believed that children had one prime attachment and that although children had attachments to oth

An attachment to the mother may be for care and love but an attachment to the father may bring unpredictable play. It is argued that children with multiple attachments are at an advantage because they are able to form and conduct social relationships ad t


Schaffer and Emerson's study found 29% of babies had a secondary attachment within a month of forming the primary one. By the age of 1, the majority of infants had secondary attachments.


Multiple attachment strengths

?A strength is that multiple attachments make sense, a psychologist found that farther's play interactions were more exciting than mothers, whilst mother's are more nurturing and affectionate, which supports the idea of fathers being playmates rather than

Multiple attachment weaknesses

?A weakness is the difficulty in measuring the strength of multiple attachments. An infant may get distressed when an individual leaves the room, but this does not necessary means that the individual is an attachment figure. Bowlby pointed out that childr

?Another weakness is conflicting evidence. It is not entirely clear when multiple attachments occur. Some research indicates that most babies form attachments to a single main carer before they are cable of creating multiple attachments. Other psychologis


Fathers are POOR primary caregivers

Traditionally, fathers played a minor role in a child's upbringing. Historically fathers would go to work and provide for the family while the mother took care of the child. however, this has changed in recent years.

Some research has shown that men are not equipped to form attachments, both psychologically and socially.


The different hormones that males have could be a factor. Oestrogen underlies caring behaviour, which may make women more biologically suited to form attachments as they can breastfeed.


There are social expectations that view childrearing as stereotypically feminine.


Fathers are GOOD secondary caregivers

Other research argues that males are not caregivers and that they provide a playmate role.

Paternal involvement in caregiving has increased. especially in middle socioeconomic families. It is suggested that father-child interactions differ to that of mother-child interaction which in turn may facilitate the development of different skills.


Father-child interactions tend to be more stimulating in comparison to mother-child interactions, This can promote the child in risk-taking and exploration, which can help with the cognitive development of a child. A psychologist found a link between pate


Sensitive Responsiveness

Other argue that fathers can demonstrate sensitive responsiveness - where they respond to the needs of their children.

It can be argued that essentially it is not the gender of the caregiver which is important, but instead, it is the level of response that is the most important. A caregiver that smiles and holds the infant is engaging in behaviour that appears to be impor


Fathers as POOR primary caregivers Evaluation

?One strength is supporting research, a psychologist found that fathers were less able to detect low levels of infant distress, in comparison to mothers. These results appear to support the biological explanation, that the lack of oestrogen in men means t

?One weakness is that research suggests that fathers are able to form secure attachments with their children if they are in an intimate marriage. A psychologist found that males who reported higher levels of marital intimacy also displayed a secure farthe


Fathers as GOOD secondary caregivers Evaluation

?One strength is supporting research. There is evidence to support the role of the father as a playmate. Geiger found that father's play interactions were more exciting in comparison to mothers. However, the mother's play interactions were more affectiona

?Another strength is supporting research by Field. He conducted research which compared the behaviour of primary caretaker mother with primary and secondary caretaker fathers. Face 2 face interactions were analysed from video footage with infants at 4 mon



Imprinting is an innate readiness to develop a strong bond with the mother, which takes place is a specific time frame in development, i.e during the critical period

Critical period

A window of time in which e.g behaviour develops. After the critical period has passed the behaviour will not develop.

Lorenz - Imprinting study

?????Aim: To investigate the mechanism of imprinting where young goslings follow and from an attachment to the first large moving object they meet.

Procedure: he divided a clutch of gosling#s eggs into two groups.


1. One group was left with their natural mother, and the other group was placed in an incubator.


-When the group that was placed in the incubator hatched, the first large moving object they saw was Lorenz and soon started to follow him.


-Lorenz marked the two groups and placed them together again. Lorenz and their natural mother were present and the goslings quickly divided themselves up, one group following Lorenz and the other following the mother.


?????Results: Loren's goslings showed no recognition of their real mother. In one of Lorenz's variations, he got goslings to imprint on a pair of boots.


-Lorenz found that imprinting happened between 13 and 16 hours after birth (critical period). Further, by 32 hours the tendency to imprint has passed and it would not take place.


-According to Lorenz imprinting is irreversible



When an attachment never forms.

Harlow - Effects of privation study

?????Aim: To investigate the effects of privation on rhesus monkeys

Procedure: 16 monkeys were separated from their mothers immediately after birth and placed in a cage with two surrogate mothers, one made of wire and one covered in soft towelling cloth, 4 monkeys were in each of the 4 conditions.


1. Wire mother with milk, towelling mother no milk


2. Wire mother no milk, towelling mother with milk


3. Wire mother with milk


4. Towelling mother with milk


Measurements were made of the amount of time that each infant spent with each mother type. Observation were also made when monkeys were frightened by a mechanical teddy bear.


?????Results: Both group of monkeys spent more time with the towelling mother, even if she had no milk. Monkeys in the first group would only go to the wire mother when hungry. Once fed, they would return to the towelling mother for most of the day. If fr


Lasting effects of Harlow's study

Harlow observed the difference in behaviour between the monkeys who had grown with surrogate mothers and those with normal mothers. Those that grew with surrogate mothers:

- were much more timid


-didn't know how to behave with other monkeys and could be aggressive and had difficulty with mating


-he females were inadequate mothers some even killing their offspring


These behaviours were only observed in monkeys which had surrogate mothers for more than 90 days. For those left less than 90 days the effects could be reversed if placed in a normal environment.


Explanatipon of attachment - Learning theory

-The main assumtion of learning theory is that children learn to become attached to their caregiver because they give them food, sometimes referred to as 'cupboard love'

Harlow's study conclusion

Harlow concluded that contact comfort was more important than food in the formation of attachment. This also shows that contact comfort is preferable to food but not sufficient for healthy development.

He also concluded that early maternal deprivation leads to emotional damage but it's impact could be reversed in monkeys if an attachment was made before the end of the critical period. However , if attachment is not formed before the critical period ther


Harlow's study strengths

?One strength is the theoretical value that psychologists gained. Harlow showed that attachment does not develop as a result of being fed by a mother figure, but as a result of contact comfort. Harlow also showed the importance of the quality of early rel

?Another strength is practical application, for example, it has helped social workers understand risk factors in child neglect and abuse and so intervene to prevent it. These findings are also important in the care of captive monkeys. We now understand th


Harlow's study weaknesses

?One weakness is ethical issues, the monkeys suffered greatly as a result of Harlow's procedures. This species is considered similar enough to humans to be able to generalise the findings, which also means that their suffering was quite human-like. He was

?Another weakness are the confounding variables that were encountered. The stimulus objects varied in more ways than being cloth-covered or not. The two heads were also different, which acted as a confounding variable because it affected the IV. It's poss


Classical conditioning - learning by association

1. Food is an unconditioned stimulus that produces an unconditioned response(pleasure)

2. At the outset, the caregiver is a neutral stimulus who produces no response.


3. However, the mother is continually paired with the unconditioned stimulus( food), the mother slowly becomes associated with it until eventually the mother alone can produce pleasure.


4. Mother has now become a conditioned stimulus and the pleasure she brings is a conditioned response. So, attachment occurs because the child seeks the person who can supply the reward(food)


Operant conditioning - learning by reinforcement(reward)

1. When hungry, the human infant feels uncomfortable and goes into a drive state

2. They seek to reduce the discomfort of being hungry, usually by crying.


3. Being fed satisfies the infant's hunger and makes them feel comfortable again. Reducing the drive state is rewarding and the child learns that food is a primary reinforcer.


4. The person who supplies the food, usually the mother is present with the food and becomes a secondary reinforcer.


Dollars and Miller beliefs

They believe infants attach my using both operant and classical conditioning.

-Infants are reinforced in the behaviours that will produce derivable response from others I.e fed when crying


-they learn to associate the caregiver with the feelings of pleasure when they are fed(cupboard love)


Learning theory strengths

?One strength is the ample opportunity for reinforcement. Dollard and Miller argued that in their first year, babies are fed 2000 times, generally by the main carer, which creates ample opportunity for the carer to become associated with the removal of th

?Another strength is that learning theory has some explanatory power. Infants so learn through association and reinforcement, but food may not be the main reinforcer. It may be that the attention and responsiveness from a caregiver are important rewards t


Learning theory weaknesses

?One weakness is that learning theory ignores the importance of innate aspects of attachment that are suggested by Bowlby's theory. He suggests that infants are born with an innate tendency to form an attachment that serves to increase their chances of su

?Another limitation of learning theory Is conflicting research from Harlow. Learning theory suggests that food is the key element in forming attachments. There is strong evidence to show that feeding has nothing to do with attachment, as Harlow concluded


Explnation for attachment - Bowlby's evolutionary theory

Bowlby suggests that attachment is an innate process that serves an important evolutionary function - an infant who is less attached is less well protected.

How does evolution explain attachment

-Attachment behaviour is programmed into humans and it operates similarly in all cultures

-The purpose of attachments is the same regardless of cultural differences; its to keep the baby close to the caregiver and safe. It allows the child to explore and develop a loving and reciprocal relationship which can be passed on though generations.


-Bowlby believes babies are born with innate behaviours e.g smiling, cooing and gripping adults. He called these social releasers because their purpose is to make adults love the baby. He believes the mother and the child have an innate predisposition to


Bowlby's - Monotropy

-Bowlby believed the idea that a child attached to one particular caregiver is more important than other attachments. He believed the more time the baby spends with the primary attachment figure the better. Other attachments were possible but they were of

- He has two principles: Law of continuity- were the more predictable a child's care is, the better the quality of attachment and the law of accumulated separation - the effect of every separation from the PCG add up therefore this should not happen


Bowlby's - Critical period

Babies have an innate drive to attach and Bowlby belived this occured during the first 2-3 years of the child's life. Infants that do not form attachments during that time have difficulties forming attachments later on. Whehter an infant attaches depends

Bowlby's - Internal working model

The IWM is a template for future relationships that is based on the infant's primary attachment, which creates consistency between early emotional experiences and later relationships. The infants build up a model of themselves as lovable and a model of th

Bowlby's theory strengths

?One strength is supporting research from Tronick. He asked mothers who were talking to their babies to maintain a static, unsmiling expression on their faces. Babies would try to tempt the mother into interacting by smiling and would become puzzled and i

?Another strength is further supporting research from Lorenz. Bowlby suggests that attachments would form within a certain time period otherwise infants would have difficulties forming attachments. Loren's research supports this as he found that imprintin


Bowlby's theory weaknesses

?A weakness is that Bowlby's monotropy principle is being questioned. Schaffer and Emerson found that most babies did attach to one person first, however, they also found that a significant minority appeared able to form multiple attachments ad the same t

?Another limitation is that there might be an alternative explanation as suggested by the Kangan's Temperament Hypothesis. Kagan noted that innate temperamental characteristics, which made infants east or difficult had a serious impact on the quality of t


Strange situations study - Ainsworth

?????Aim: To produce a method for assessing the quality of attachment between mother and child.

Method: - 100 middle-class American infants and their mothers


-Controlled observation was developed which is classified as an experiment with observations. This involved observing infants with their mothers during a set of predetermined activities.


-This involved a specific 8 step procedure knows as strange situations. All the sessions, except the first one, took 3 minutes


- The steps included the child being introduced to the room with toys in, being left alone by the mother in the room. Being approached by a stranger, with the mother then returning to comfort the child.


?????Observations: 1. The infant's willingness to explore - whether they use the mother as a safe base.


2. Separation anxiety- the level of unease shown by the infant when the caregiver leaves


3. Stranger anxiety- The infant's responses to the presence of a stranger.


4.Reunion behaviour- the way the caregiver was greeted by the infant on their return


Strange situations - Procedures


Strange situations - Results

Three types of attachment:

Strange situations strengths

?One strength is high predictive validity. Attachment type predicts later development, e.g secure babies typically have greater success at school and more lasting romantic relationships. Compared to insecure resistant attachment is associated with the mos

?Another strength is that strange situations study has very good inter-rater reliability. Different observers watching the same child generally agree on the attachment type. Bick found that 94% agreement, This is because the strange situation takes place


Strange situations weaknesses

?One weakness is that there may be other attachment types that Ainsworth did not consider. For example, a couple of psychologists pointed out that some children's behaviour does not fit any of the 3 categories. This eas called disorganised attachment - a

?Another weakness is that there might be further validity issues. Ainsworth's conclusion that strange situations can classify attachment types od children has been criticised on the grounds that it identifies only the type of attachment on the mother. The


Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg - Culture study

?????Aim: Investigate the proportion of attachment types across a range of counties to see if there are any cultural variations

Method: They conducted a meta-analysis of 32 strange situation studies carried out in 8 different countries with a total of 2000 babies.


?????Results: They found that secure attachment was the most common in all cultural studies. The results show that the attachment types vary between and within cultures. Variation within countries was the greatest as one study found 46% securely attached


Takahashi - Japan study

Japanese children show similar patterns of attachment to the Israeli children but for different reasons. Japanese children are very rarely left by their mothers. So, the distress they show when she leaves is probably more due to shock than it is to insecu

The distress they feel when left alone with a stranger is also more likely to be due to the absence of the mother. This explains the high percentage of anxious resistance.


Grossman and Grossman - German study

The study highlights a high percentage of avoidant behaviour, typical of independent children. This is not surprising given that Grossman says that German parents seek independent infants, who do not make demands on parents but obey their commands. These

Cultural variation strengths

?One strength is supporting research by Jin. He compared the proportions of attahcement types in Korean to other studies. The SS assessed 87 children. The overall proportions of insecure and secure babies were similar to those in most countries, with most

?Another strength is that there was a large sample. In izjendoorn and Kroonenberg's meta-analysis, there was nearly 2000 babies and their mothers. This large overall sample size increases internal validity by reducing the impact of anomalous results cause


Cultural variation weaknesses

?One weakness is that the study is not representative of all countries. Over half of the 32 studies were carried out in the USA reflecting the dominance by America in research in this area. 27 of the studies were carried out in individualistic cultures wi

?Another weakness is that strange situations might not be appropriate for each country. It is argued that SS is an Ethnocentric procedure meaning it was designed for one culture and used in others. It was developed in America, based on their norms, so it


Bowlby's maternal deprivation theory

Bowlby argued that the first 2.5 years of a child's life is crucial in forming attachments. If the primary caregiver is separated for an extended period of time this may lead to psychological damage to the child. Brief separations do not have any long-las

Maternal deprivation - Effects on development

Intellectual: Bowlby believed that if children were deprived of maternal care for too long during the critical period they would suffer mental retardation. For example, a psychologists found lower IQs in children who had remained in institutions as oppose

Emotional development: Bowlby identified affectionless psychopathy as the inability to experience guilt or sympathy. This prevents the person from developing normal relationships and is associated with criminality.


Bowlby's study of 44 juvenile thieves

Bowlby studied 88 children, all of them were emotionally maladjusted. 44 of the children were thieves and the other 44 were used as a control group. Bowlby found that 14 of the thieves showed little signs of affection and shame out of a group he called af

Maternal deprivation strengths

?One strength is that there is supporting research from other studies. For example, a psychologist studied 250 women who had lost mothers, through separation or death, before they were 17. They found that the loss of their mother doubled the risk of depre

?Another strength is further supporting research from Harlow. His research demonstrated that an initial relationship does determine how future relationships are formed and that early separation during the critical period, can have adverse and long-lasting


Maternal deprivation weaknesses

?One weakness is that Bowlby's critical period is criticised to be more of a sensitive period. Research shows that damage is not inevitable, some cases of even the most severe deprivation can have good outcomes provided the child has good social interacti

?Another weakness is conflicting research by Lewis. She replicated the 44 thieves study on a larger scale looking at 500 young people. In her sample, a history of early prolonged separation from the mother did not predict criminality or difficulty forming


Disinhibited attachment

The child doesn't seem to prefer his or her parents over other people, even seeking strangers. The child seeks comfort and attention from anyone.

Effects of institutionalisation - Rutter

?????Aim: Rutter followed a group of 165 Romania orphans adopted in Britain to test to what extent good care could make up for poor early experienced in an institution.

Procedure: Of the 165 children, 111 were adopted before the age of 3 and 54 adopted by the age of 4. They ere compared to 52 British children adopted by the age of 6 months(control group). The children were tested regularly for physical, social and cognit


?????Results: At the time of adoption the Romanian children lagged behind the British counterparts on all measures e.g cognitive and social development. Cognitively, they were classified as mentally retarded. By 4, most of the Romanian children who had be


Conclusion: Long-term consequences may be less severe if the child forms an attachment early. However, when children do not form attachments then the consequences are likely to be severe.


Effects of institutionalisation

-Physical underdevelopment: Children in institutional care are usually small as research has shown that lack of emotional care rather than poor nourishment is the cause of deprivation dwarfism

-Intellectual under-functioning: cognitive development is also affected by emotional deprivation


-Disinhibited attachment: Symptoms include attention seeking, clinginess and social behaviour indisci=rimantely directed towards all adults.


-Poor parenting: A study done with 100 women, 50 which were reared in an institution compared to 50 women reared at home. When institutionalised the women were in their 20s they were experiencing extreme difficulties acting as parents.


Effects of institutionalisation strengths

?One strength is the value of longitudinal studies. Rutter's study followed the lives of children over many years, these studies take a great deal of planning and time waiting for results, but the benefits are substantial. Without this study, people may m

?Another strength in real-life application. Studying the Romania orphans has enhanced our understanding of the effects of institutionalisation, with the results leading to improvement in the way children are cared for. For example, orphanages avoid having


Effects of institutionalisation weaknesses

?One weakness is that the Romanian orphanages were atypical. It is possible that the conditions were so bad in those institutions that here results cannot be applied to understanding the impact of better quality institutional care. After all, the Romanian

?Another weakness is problems in drawing a firm conclusion. The studies are limited in whether they can definitely conclude whether children suffered long-term effects. It may be that children who spend longer in institutions and currently lag behind in i


Relationships in later Childhood

Securely attached children tend to go on to form better quality childhood friendships, whereas insecurely attached children have difficulties with friendships. Psychologists used standard questionnaires to measure attachment type and bullying behaviour in

Relationships in adulthood with Partners

?????Aim: Hazan and Shaver investigated whether attachment type influences future romantic relationships.

Procedure: Analysing 600+ replies from a love quiz which was printed on newspapers. The quiz assessed on


- Respondent most important relationships


-Attachment type


-General love experiences


?????Results: 56% were identified as securely attached, 25% avoidant and 19% resistant. Those who were secured were most likely to have good and long lasting relationships. The avoidant responses tended to reveal jealousy and fear of intimacy. These resul


Relationship in adulthood as a parent

People tend to base their parenting style on their IWM so attachment type tends to be passed through generations. Bailey considered the attachment of 99 mothers to their babies and to their own mothers. The majority of women had the same attachment classi

This can also be seen in Harlows experiment as the monkeys with surrogate mothers were socially and sexually abnormal. This was due to them not having formed a template of future relationships.


Attchment type on adult and childhood relationships strengths

?One strength is that there is research support. Longitudinal studies do not suffer from validity issues e.g questionnaires, for example, a psychologist assessed infant attachment at one year and found that participants who were securely attached as infan

Attchment type on adult and childhood relationships weaknesses

?One weakness is that the assumption is overly deterministic. The research can seem to suggest that very early experiences have a fixed effect on later relationships and, therefore, children who are insecurely attached are bound to have bad relationships

?Another weakness are issues with validity. Most studies of attachment type do not use the Strange situations instead they sue a questionnaire conducted many years later. This creates issues with validity, firstly assessment relies on self-report techniqu