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According to Ainsworth how does attachment develop?

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According to Ainsworth how does attachment develop? According to Mary Ainsworth (1989) an attachment is an affectional bond which is a "relatively long enduring tie in which the partner is important as a unique individual (and where there) is a desire to maintain closeness to the partner" Ainsworth argued that attachment isn't an inherited behaviour (nature), but took the view that attachment is a learned process (nurture). She agreed to the view put forward by the behaviourists to explain how all behaviour is acquired, known s the learning theory. The learning theory is based around two principles of conditioning; these are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning states that the pleasure the child gets from food is reflected on to the mother, so attachment is formed. Operant conditioning goes further by saying recognises that the mother can help relieve the discomfort associated with hunger, the baby wants to retain its closeness to the mother for this reason. ...read more.


Ainsworth (1974) purposed a caregiver's sensitivity hypothesis that concluded that the type of attachment depends on the caregiver's warm and loving responsiveness and supposed that secure attachment was the result of mothers being sensitive to their children. This result was concluded through a procedure known as 'the strange situation' which is used to discover and measure the quality of attachment. Ainsworth worked with Bell (1970) an assessed about 100 middle class American infants and their mothers using 'the strange situation' this is a method of controlled observation involving observing infants with their mothers during a set of predetermined activities. The observer records the infants and mothers behaviours such as separation anxiety, the unease the infant showed when left by the caregiver: the infant's willingness to explore, stranger anxiety: the Infant's response to the presence of a stranger and finally reunion behaviour: the way the caregiver was greeted on return. ...read more.


They also tended to freeze a show certain stereotypical behaviours such as rocking. 'The Strange Situation' by Mary Ainsworth is still credited and used today by the modern psychologist. Warther used the reliable procedure in 1994 and discovered that the category a child falls into is normally the same at different ages proving Ainsworths results are valid through the infants' life. Ainsworth also gain some support by Melnuish in 1993, also concluded that the differences in classification of a child can be put down o changes in the form of care given to a child. Ainsworths work although mainly supported had some criticisms and oppositions. Vaughn (1980) concluded that attachment types are non permanent and may change. Zarsen and Diener (1987) concluded that differences in a baby's character may result in differences in quality of attachments. Mary's work on 'the Strange Situation' was only carried out in the USA and makes unreasonable generalizations about all infants' behaviour. When carried out in different cultures a completely different set of results would occur. Lucy Little 6B1 ...read more.

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