• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What has Psychological Research told us About the Development and Variety of Attachment Behaviour in Infants? Evaluate Two Studies in Terms of Methodology and Ecological Validity.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What has Psychological Research told us About the Development and Variety of Attachment Behaviour in Infants? Evaluate Two Studies in Terms of Methodology and Ecological Validity. Two key investigations into attachment development in infants are the study conducted by Schaffer and Emerson (1964) and the study conducted by Ainsworth and Bell (1970). These investigations researched the ages of the first attachment (to see if there was a common process in making attachments), the strength of the attachments and the individual differences in attachment behaviours. Schaffer and Emerson (1964) aimed to find out when infants made their first attachment, which person they became attached to, how strong the attachment was, and whether or not there were common behaviours seen between the individual infants. They used sixty participants from the working-class sector of Glasgow, and chose to use both observation and interview as their data collection techniques. At first the infants were monitored in their own homes every four weeks, then at one year old and once more at eighteen months old. They looked for a characteristic, defined by Maccoby (1980), which showed the presence of an attachment- separation anxiety. If the infant showed signs of stress when their primary caregiver left the room then this was a signal that there was an attachment between the infant and the carer. ...read more.

Middle

However, overall the experiment does not aid psychology to a great extent when explaining the development of attachments and the variety of behaviours shown. The study took place in 1964 and so is historically biased, meaning that the conclusions drawn from the findings may not still be applicable today. The family situation at home differs from years ago with more single parents and younger mothers. This could affect the formation of attachments, especially as multiple attachments are unlikely to be achieved if the infant is only ever in contact with one person (it's primary carer) on a regular basis. These findings strictly show how infants would make attachments in the urban setting of middle-class Glasgow in the 1960s. If the same experiment was to be carried out in the same place today, or in a different cultural area, or a different class the results may be different. As there are so many confounding variables possible we are unable to take the statements put forward by Schaffer and Emerson to be true for infants as a whole. Ainsworth and Bell (1970) formed 'The Strange Situation' in their aim to produce a method that could easily assess the quality of an infant's attachment with it's mother by provoking behaviours such as seeking comfort and exploration. ...read more.

Conclusion

Setting the study in a laboratory also takes away the ecological validity of the experiment as it is not long showing the results that would be expected in real life. It becomes artificial and so may show slightly differing results to that of an experiment set in the child's usual home. Like Schaffer and Emerson's experiment, this is historically, geographically and socially biased. The participants were all middle-class Americans from the 1970s. If the investigation was carried out with a different group of people the results could vary considerably. Because of this, the conclusions drawn can only be applicable to this set of participants. Both investigations offer a key insight into the way attachments are formed and the behaviours linked with attachments. This research is important as it can lead onto further research and acts as a set of comparative results to what other psychologists may learn from their own studies. As these results are biased in many ways, they cannot be used to represent infants as a whole, but they do offer interesting findings on these sets of participants (working-class Americans, and working-class Glaswegians). These results would be most useful to compare with infants from other parts of the world to see whether cultural forms of nurture or other practises found only in foreign countries have an effect on the age in which attachments are made and how strong they are. ?? ?? ?? ?? 28/11/2008 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Strange situation has been used in many different countries to investigate attachments." Outline ...

    The SS was modified to enable infant and maternal behaviour patterns to be classified. Group data confirmed that babies explored the play room and toys more vigorously in the mothers' presence then after the stranger entered, while the mothers were absent.

  2. Investigate the stages that infants go through when developing attachments.

    Sound of the bell - conditioned stimulus Food - unconditioned stimulus Salivation - unconditioned response. Operant Conditioning - Skinner - developed the learning theory further. Put a rat inside a box with a lever, which when pressed released rewards (banana milk condensed tablets).

  1. Research into the development of attachments Study by Schaffer and Emerson (1964)

    In 30%, the mother was the first joint object of attachment. Fathers were rarely the first sole objects of attachment (3%), but 27% of them were the first joint objects of attachment. 4. Time spent with infant-In 39% of the cases, the person who usually fed, bathed, and changed the child was not the child's primary attachment object.

  2. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    If the killers had been seen ultimately punished in the end, it would be a positive reading, as the reader would know not to mimic as punishment is where that behaviour leads. Ultimately it is children who are seen to be the most at risk from these effects.

  1. Task1 Counselling 1aPhysical signs and symptoms of stress

    There are several major causes to having abnormal behaviour such as genetic disorders (that you are born with) brain disease or injury or mental illness which can give rise to both behavioural and psychological symptoms. The main contribution to this perspective has been the new insight it has given mental and emotional disorders.

  2. Infant's Attachments

    I get so angry when you're like this'. About 15% of U.S. infants have this resistant attachment relationship" (Kail). The last insecure attachment is the disorganized or disoriented attachment. "The baby seems confused when the mother leaves and when she returns, s if not really understanding what's happening" (Kail).

  1. Psychology Cae Studies

    This implied that they were not entitled to rights. Loss of control over what we as humans have come to expect, when we eat, when we sleep, and when use the bathroom. They lost the power to do all these things. Learned helplessness: - They became dependent upon the guards for everything.

  2. Developmental Psychology - Attachments. Ainsworth and Bell demonstrated that children show two main characteristics ...

    Second separation episode: Infant is alone. Continuation of second separation episode: Stranger enters and gears behaviour to that of infant. Second reunion episode: Parent enters, greets infant, and picks up infant; stranger leaves inconspicuously. In all the stranger enters on average eight times, more if the child is okay, less if it is showing signs of distress.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work