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Outline and evaluate research into types of attachment

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and evaluate research into types of attachment The ?strange situation? by Ainsworth and Bell remains at the forefront of research into attachment types. Set up in 1970, the aim of the case study was to investigate a child?s attachment with their caregiver. During the experiment, Ainsworth was observing 4 measures of attachment behaviour. These were stranger anxiety, reunion behaviour, separation protest and willingness to explore. The procedure of the strange situation was to have children aged 12-18 months in a room without their caregiver. The first stage is for the child to be playing with toys whilst the mother is present. A stranger then enters the room and the caregiver walks out, leaving the mother to try and comfort the baby. The mother then returns, and the stranger leaves. ...read more.

Middle

Insecure avoidant attachment is where the child was willing to explore, had low stranger anxiety, was indifferent to separation and rejected the caregiver upon return. Having an insecure resistant attachment was were the child involved was unwilling to explore, had high stranger anxiety, was distressed upon separation and rejected their caregiver upon return. However there were some issues with the strange situation. Firstly, the experiment used mother and child pairs and this is an issue as many babies? attachment figures may be someone other than their mother, for example father or grandparent (Lamb 1977). Due to this, you can?t generalize the results to real life as the experiment lacks internal validity. Furthermore, Ainsworth?s study can be criticized because she only used a small sample of participants. ...read more.

Conclusion

The experiment was in many other ways successful though. Other researchers have conducted similar investigations and found similar results. This is good as it show that the experiment is easily replicable and so is reliable. Furthermore, as Ainsworth?s observation was conducted in a laboratory she was able to control many variables. This is an advantage as she was allowed to isolate a key variable and record the effect, and be sure that it was only the manipulation to the independent variable that caused the dependent variable. However, being conducted in a laboratory could also lead to demand characteristics in the caregiver. The mother could deliberately act in a way she think will please the experimenters, or the ?screw you effect?. This will undermine the validity, as it is not a normal situation. Lastly, the attachments discovered in the strange situation still serve to be the most popular way of categorizing baby?s attachment types around the world. ...read more.

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