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PSYC 208 - Lecture Template - Ch. 6 (2 of 2).docx

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University of British Columbia
PSYC 208
Maria Weatherby

III. Attachment Theory (developed by John Bowlby) – Chapter 6 (2 of 2) Attachment theory is revealed in Bowlby’s famous trilogy (three books) entitled Attachment (1969), Separation (1973), and Loss (1980). A. Overview of Attachment Theory Bowlby viewed attachment behaviours as evolutionary behaviours, that is behaviours primarily designed to ensure an infant’s survival.According to Bowlby, instinctual behaviours such as sucking, clinging, following, crying and smiling serve a survival purpose; in Bowlby’s view, these instinctual behaviours bring infants and primary attachment figures closer together, which indirectly protects infants from predators, falls, and harmful accidents, which may threaten an infant’s survival. In addition, these instinctual behaviours ensure that infants will have opportunities to closely observe, imitate, and practice with guidance the species-specific survival behaviours that primary attachment figures have already acquired. In support of attachment’s evolutionary foundation, Bowlby demonstrated how an infant’s instinctual behaviours would become uncontrollably activated by loud noises, the sudden appearance of stranger people, strange animals, or strange objects, and parental separation.All of these situations potentially threaten infant safety/survival, thus Bowlby felt that only an evolutionary theory could explain why these particular stimuli trigger such an immediate and uncontrollable response by an infant. In addition, Bowlby noticed that these instinctual infant behaviours were easily activated when infants experienced fatigue, illness, or pain, that is, when additional care is required. U.C.S.  U.C.R. (unlearned, instinctual) - loud noises - seek proximity to caregivers - strange people, toys, animals - closeness - caregiver leaves B. Main Ideas Advanced byAttachment Theory /Assumptions 1. There is a sensitive period for attachment formation. (See reactive attachment disorder – IQ Ch. 6 #1b) 2. Attachment formation is not complete at birth. It unfolds over time. Bowlby described FOUR phases in the attachment formation process. Age Phase Nature of Phase 1 Infants use their reflexes and other built-in ‘signaling’behaviours to induce “Non- caregivers or potential attachment figures to come closer (i.e., maintain focused proximity) and provide physical contact. 0-3 months orienting According to Bowlby, attachment between parent and child has not and signaling” occurred in the first three months of life because infants do not direct their proximity-promoting behaviours to anyone caregiver in particular. “Focus on Infants begin to narrow proximity-promoting behaviours (referred to as 3-6 months one or more ‘come here’behaviours) to a particular attachment figure. However, attachment is still not fully formed in this phase as proximity-promoting is figures” necessary but insufficient evidence of attachment. Infants begin to display proximity-seeking behaviours (active or goal- 6 to 24 directed behaviour – referred to as ‘go there’behaviours) to a particular months “Secure attachment figure in times of perceived stress. That is, infants will actively base seek out their secure base (attachment figure) in times of perceived stress. Attachment behaviour” According to Bowlby, infants’use of proximity-seeking behaviours clearly is formed demonstrates an attachment is formed and who it is formed with thus true attachment has now emerged. Children have now internalized the interactions they have experienced with their attachment figure(s) into their internal model. The internal model consists of two separate but related parts: the self-model (+ve or – ve) and the other-model (+ve or –ve). Thus attachment affects how we perceive our SELF and how we interact with OTHERS because the early 24 months “Internal experiences we have with our primary attachment figure are internalized in and beyond model” our internal working model. These internalized notions of our self and of others appear to be quite stable over time. That is, early experiences affect our self-esteem, self-efficacy, peer relationships, intimate relationships, and how we parent our own children. - Relationship between earlier experiences and later - What long term effects it has C. Major Concepts 1. Proximity-promoting – Used exclusively in phase 1 & 2 of attachment formation and declines in use afterwards (though never disappears). Proximity-promoting behaviours are used to signal or cue attachment figures to ‘come here’. Crying is the dominant proximity-promoting behaviour though smiling and clinging/snuggling/cuddling as also examples that infants (and older children/adults) use. 2. Proximity-seeking – In phase 3 of attachment formation, infants shift from exclusively using proximity- promoting behaviours to using proximity-seeking or ‘go there’ behaviours as well. Proximity-seeking means that individuals actively seek proximity (closeness) to attachment figures on their own accord. For instance, crawling or walking towards the attachment figures in times of perceived stress to seek reassurance or following their attachment figure around the house. 3. Internal Models (sometimes referred to as internal working models) – IWMs are mental representations constructed from the interactional patterns between individuals and their primary attachment figures. 2 Based on experiences with attachment figures, internal models consist of two parts: (1) Self-model (2) Other-model An individual’s “self-model” is similar to his/her self-worth (i.e., our self-esteem).According to Bowlby, our self-model emerges from the care and affection we receive from others (particularly our attachment figures). “Other-models” are defined as how we view/perceive other people (i.e., our expectations in social relationships). For example, do we generally perceive others to be available, accepting, and responsive to our emotional needs or do we anticipate that others will be unreliably, or cold, harsh, and critical? Over time, internal models direct and limit what information we process about ourselves and other people. Thus, internal models influence our perception, attention, encoding, and memory. Positive internal models are consistent with open, flexible and non-defensive processing of information, whereas negative internal models involve rigid processing of information, in a way that often distorts information (misperceptions) and involves regular use of several defense mechanisms. According to Bowlby, internal models are rudimentarily formed by 2 years of life; however, they become more elaborate, stable, and resistant to change by 4-5 years olds. 4. Stranger anxiety –fear of strangers. It can be observed when infants cry or cling to attachment figures in the presence of strangers. Stranger anxiety is rare before 6 months of age and it increases in frequency until 12-16 months then declines. 5. Separation anxiety – fear of separation from primary caregivers. It is arguably the most anxiety- provoking situation for infants. Like stranger anxiety, it is rare before 6 months and increases in frequency until 12-16 months then declines. It typically lasts longer than stranger anxiety. 6. Social referencing – This attachment-related behavior typically emerges around 10 months of age. It occurs when infants look to their attachment figure’s facial expressions to help them figure out how to interpret novel situations. Thus social referencing helps infants regulate their emotions. Social referencing can be interpreted as a specific type of observational learning (Bandura) – that is, social referencing may explain in part how emotions are learned. Co-regulation of emotions (infants)  self-regulation of emotions (children) IV. Measuring Infants’Attachment (MaryAinsworth) – Research to validate Attachment Theory • Ainsworth (researcher) was hired by Bowlby (theorist) (newspaper advertisement) to empirically test his theoretical ideas 3 - What parent-infant interactions lead to secure/insecure attachment? • Initially, Ainsworth naturalistically observed interactional patterns between infants and primary attachment figures inAfrica (Uganda), which were published in her book entitled Infancy in Uganda. - The effect of brief separation on attachment - Child rejecting mother because they left (e.g. hospital, daycare) - Security redevelops over time - Weaning process (for breastfeeding) - Involved caregiver leaving the infant for ~ 2 weeks (evidence of withdrawal) • When she returned to the U.S.A. (Baltimore), she continued to conduct naturalistic studies to gain a greater understanding of the interactional patterns that lead to secure and insecure attachment formation. Her findings are summarized in what is known as the Baltimore Studies. - Coding behaviours – what parents do, child responds - Key findings: interactions that lead to secure attachment o High level of physical contact – skin-to-skin, face-to-face, co-sleeping, sling o Quickly responding to infant cues/signals (proximity-promoting) for reassurance – crying o Allowing infants to set time/place of breastfeeding – “every 4 hours”, etc.  Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears • Finally, to scientifically investigate the effects of attachment quality on child development,Ainsworth needed to devise a laboratory test of attachment. The name of the lab procedure she developed was the Strange Situation method. The table below
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