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Ainsworth, Bowlby and Devevelopmental Psychology Questions

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Developmental Psychology Paper. a) Ainsworth invented the strange situation experiment to determine how securely attached infants are to their caregiver. He categorised infants into three groups: * Group B also known as secure attachment was a confident infant who would leave its mother to play and explore. It will be subdued when mother leaves the room and greet her positively on her return. Secure infants have been with a caregiver who is emotionally available, sensitive and supportive. They have a positive working model of themselves. * Group A is an insecure infant known as an avoidant infant. They do not orientate to the mother while investigating the toys and room, they do not seem concerned by her absence, and show little interest in her when she returns. ...read more.


Infants behaviour was assessed using the categories: * Separation anxiety * Exploration by the infant * Stranger anxiety * Reunion behaviour The mother and child are introduced to the room and left alone together so that the infant can explore the toys. The stranger enters the room and talks to the mother approaching the infant slowly with a toy. The mother leaves the room leaving the infant with the stranger. The mother returns to greet and comfort the infant. The mother again leaves the infant with the stranger who tries interacts with the infant. Then the mother returns to the child. Psychologists sit behind a one way screen to observe the Childs reactions to the mother and stranger throughout the experiment. ...read more.


The Behaviourists theory "Tabular Rasa" was that attachment was due to conditioning. Classical conditioning was shown by Skinner who showed that a rat could be conditioned to press a lever by rewarding it for approaching, touching and pressing the leaver. It associated a click with food just like the sight of the mother is conditioned to an infant with food and comfort. An infant is born with a reflex response. This is the bases of the attachment bond. Dollard and Miller adapted this theory, to include a drive state. The infant howls and learns that this produces a reward which is then linked with the mother. Behaviourists were widely criticised for being reductionist, reducing the complexities of human behaviour to learned responses. The theory excludes the possibility of any innate factors. It was criticised as cupboard love theories. Only Schaffer and Emerson and Harlow support this theory research does not. ...read more.

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