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Lecture 10

PSYC 251 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Mental Model, Marinus Van Ijzendoorn, Attachment In Adults

Course Code
PSYC 251
Elizabeth Kelley

of 7
Week 10: Attachment and development of Self: Outline
10.1.What is attachment and how is it measured?
10.2.What are the effects of attachment on social functioning?
10.3.How does the self-concept emerge?
10.4.How does self-esteem develop and how is it measured?
10.1. What is Attachment and how is it measured?
- First proposed by Bowlby- trained in psychoanalysis (also influenced by findings after WW2 of orphans and
their behaviors; influenced by Lorenz’s imprinting)
- Secure base behavior increases survival (Attachment is an evolutionary factor that’s developed to increase
survival) We’re often attached to mother to have someone to take care of us and have a secure base which to
explore the world.
- Innate basis but influenced by environment (unlike imprinting which is affected by environment as well but
more so in people the attachment is greatly influenced by environment).
- Allows safety and exploration
- Infants depend on parents to satisfy and comfort internal working model (If child has secure
attachment, then the internal working model said people are reliable, I can depend on them and I am worthy of
love. If insecure attachment, child grow up to believe they are not worthy of love and they can’t depend on
people). *This idea influences the development of self for self-identity, self-esteem & the expectation of others.
- Influences development of self and expectations of others: influence all relationship throughout life.
Ainsworth’s Strange Situation
- Widely used test of attachment behaviors (primarily in infants and toddlers).
- Number of different trails: mom and baby enters lab, and look at how mom act as secure base, stranger enters
look at how baby reacts, mom talk to stranger, mom leave child alone with stranger (separation distress +
reaction to stranger’s comforting), mom returns and look at how baby reacts to the reunion with mom, stranger
leaves and parent leaves (look at distress- tends to be higher the second time), stranger comes back, caregiver
comes back. *Studied for many years before they begin to look at dad’s.
- Reaction to mother’s return key (is the mom able to comfort the child, does child calms down quickly)
- Also secure base behavior (how much the child used mom as secure base to explore environment), separation
distress, reaction to stranger and stranger’s comforting (if stranger is better able to comfort than mom is then you
know is not very good attachment with mom).
1. Secure-easily comforted by mom, secure base (60%) *majority infants in all cultures. Check in once in a
while to make sure mom pays attention, show things to mom…
2. Insecure/resistant-clingy then resists comfort (10%) *don’t use mom as secure base, don’t move far
away from her, upset when she leaves, reunited - hold out arm, run to but when pick up they fight to get
out of mom’s grasp.
3. Insecure/Avoidant-spends most time ignoring mom (15%) *don’t get upset when mom leaves room,
when she return they ignore her as well.
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4. New-Disorganized-confused, fearful approach, freezing behavior (15%)*sometimes very confused, may
freeze when approaching mom, seem fearful of her, sometimes more comforted by strangers but
sometimes not. Clearly not securely attached, but doesn’t show a clear pathway. *Worse prognosis.
Factors Affecting Secure Attachment Relationship (or predict secure attachment)
Sensitivity most important
Sensitivity=prompt attention to infant’s needs, consistent, appropriate, and tender
- prompt attention to infant need (not let them cry for LT before check on them), consistent (sometimes
sensitive sometimes not =affects baby’s dependence and question mom’s reliability), appropriate (mom
need to have a good sense of what the baby needs give bottle when they need diaper changed= affects
in terms of infants feeling mom can be counted on), and tender& warm (maybe less so in other culture
than North America).
Definitely seems to be more mom than child (particular early development- studies where moms are
taught to be more sensitive and it improves attachment relationships. No intervention for children)
Difficult temperament makes difficult but can be done (difficult to be as sensitive as they need, but
certainly can be done).
Intervention studies for difficult children or depressed moms
Genes may have interactive effect (difficult children may have mom who are temperamentally difficult
and this further hinders the attachment relationship).
10.2 What are the effects of attachment on social functioning?
Parental Attachment (study of adult’s own attachment in their childhood)
Measured with Adult Attachment Interview (weakness= Very few longitudinal study. Mostly
retrospective report, own perception of attachment as child. These may be wrong).
Measures adults’ perceptions of their own childhood
Asks Q about degree of comfort felt, how secure they were, if ever separated, if ever felt rejected
Divides individuals into autonomous, dismissing, preoccupied and unresolved early attachment
NOTE: this is based on their subjective recall of their own infancy and childhood.
1. Autonomous-consistent answer to Qs, talks about good +bad things about parents but is realistic and
moved beyond any difficulties they had.
2. Dismissing-don’t want to recall or dismiss as unimportant. In denial about effect parents caused them.
3. Preoccupied-still caught up in childhood experiences still clearly upset about experience and dwell on it.
4. Unresolved-answers don’t make sense-extreme good & bad *lot of answers to Q that behaviorally
sounds bad, but try to put a good spin on it. (Ex. they sent me away but it’s for my own good…)
Autonomoussecure attachment
Dismissing—Insecure avoidance as child (doesn’t bother them on surface)
PreoccupiedInsecure resistance
PIE GRAPH: NOTE this is classification now and how they are attached to their own infants
Upper Left: of all securely attached infants, 73% of them have parents that scored autonomous.
Anxious avoidance: 55% of them were dismissing.
Preoccupied is the largest amount of classification with anxious/resistance secure infant. But it’s much more
Disorganized: more likely53% parents are classified as unresolved.
*never match up perfectly! But in most cases (except in anxious resistance, there is a clear relationship).
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Long-Term Effects
- Internal working model (secure model that adults are reliable and sensitive, can count on others; insecure
esp if disorganized model of adult not being reliable, sensitive, not worthy of love).
- Securely attached infants more socially skilled (smile more at other kids, happier bb)
- Understand emotions better, less aggressive in preschool
- In grade school, better grades and more friends
- Only if environment doesn’t change (attachment laid down doesn’t change if environment doesn’t change.
But children can go from insecure to secure if caregiver’s situation improves with intervention or better social
support, parents recovering from depression, better partner… resulting in parent being more sensitive; can go the
other way, death of spouse depression, other trauma, parents can’t be sensitive to child anymoreinsecure).
- Adulthood studies inconsistent-perceptions (from infancy to adulthood, perception is inconsistent).
- Disorganized poorest prognosis (? Why not so bad in different culture).
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