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'Can psychological research inform us about the development of attachment? Outline and evaluate.'

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Introduction

'Can psychological research inform us about the development of attachment? Outline and evaluate.' Psychological research can inform us about the development of attachments to a certain extent. Mary Ainsworth actually covered a definition explaining, how we know when an attachment has developed. This is; 'the infant tries to get close to and maintain that proximity with the caregiver, using a number of strategies to do so. E.g. clinging and signalling behaviours such as smiling, crying and calling.' The fact she has outlined this definition obviously shows she must have evidence to back her definition up. John Bowlby's view on attachment is that it is very important to ensure the survival of infants. Attachment must be two-way in order to ensure good care. The infant will cry out when left and in turn, the caregiver would respond to the child. An infant, who is not attached, will not be cared for. Developmental psychologists have produced stage theories for the development of certain behaviours, such as attachment. However, the weakness of any stage account of development is that it suggests a fixed pattern of development. ...read more.

Middle

Most infants showed separation protest at seven months, which indicated a specific attachment to one person. Within one month after the investigation, 29% formed multiple attachments and 78% formed multiple attachments within six months of the first specific attachment. In 39% of the cases, infants did not show their first specific attachment to the person who fed or bathed them. Responsiveness appears to be the key to attachment. Intensely attached infants had mothers who responded quickly to their demands and who offered the infant the most interaction. Infants who were weakly attached have mothers who failed to interact. They then produced their own stage theory consisting of three distinctive stages. The Asocial stage (0-6 weeks)- emotional behaviour such as smiling and crying does not seem to be directed specifically at any given individual. The next stage was the indiscriminate attachment (6 weeks-7months), where the infant seeks attention from numerous different people and is generally happy. The final stage is specific attachments (7 months-11months), where the infant forms a strong attachment to one individual, but good attachments to others often follow shortly thereafter. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also if a baby has medical problems the mother and infant would not be able to bond straight away, making the mother think that she has missed out on a special event. Similarly, imprinting by Konrad Lorenz shows that each group of goslings went straight to their caregiver and became distressed at separation. This shows us imprinting is a rapid special form of learning, which is shown by some young animals shortly after birth. It also shows that there is a critical period, which is a sensitive time when the gosling forms an attachment In conclusion, these studies do show us that psychological research can inform us bout the development of attachment. The stage theories developed by John Bowlby and Schaffer and Emerson are quite similar showing infants go through these stages in their life. Most of the studies eventually suggest there is a critical period where mother and infant should spend time forming an attachment. It also tells us that interaction and responsiveness is the key to attachment to maintain proximity and exploratory behaviour, which is important to the later development of the infant. Hema Pindolia ...read more.

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