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PSYC21H3 (62)
Lecture 4

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David Haley

Week 4 readings Chapter 4: Attachment – Learning to Love - Attachment: a strong emotional bond that forms between infant and caregiver in the second half of the child’s first year Theories of attachment - Psychoanalytic theory  Infants attached to mother because thy associated he with gratification of their instinctual drive to obtain pleasure through sucking and oral stimulation  Attached to the mother breast first than the mother herself in the oral stage - Learning theories  Drive-reduction learning theories suggest that the mother becomes attachment object because she reduces the baby’s primary drive of hunger – wanting the mother there becomes secondary because she is paired with the relief of hunger  Harry Harlow and attachment Rhesus Monkeys rebutted  Operant-conditioning learning theorists suggested that the basis of development of attachment is not feeding, per se, but the visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation that infants receive from their caregivers - Cognitive development theory  Infants ability to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar ppl; another is the infants awareness that ppl continue to exist even when they cannot be seen  Object permanence: infants must have the ability to remember what ppl look like and the knowledge (Piaget) understanding that ppl have a continuous existence apart from the baby’s own interactions with them - Ethological theory  John Bowlby  Imprinting: birds and other infrahuman animals develop a preference for the first person or object to which they are first exposed during a brief, critical period after birth  Both the baby and the parents are biologically prepared for one another forming a mutual attachment  Secure base: a safety zone (i.e. parents) that the infant can retreat t for comfort and reassurance when stressed or frightened while exploring the environment  Attachment linked to exploring  Emphasis on the active role the infant plays in early social signaling systems such as smiling and crying; development of mutual attachments; attachment as a relationship, not simply a behaviour of either the infant or parent  Infants early behaviours biologically programmed  Maternal bond: feeling of attachment by a mother to her infant, perhaps influenced by early postnatal contact How attachment develops - Formation and early development of attachment  Divided into 4 stages: 1. 1- 2 months: baby’s social responses are relatively indiscriminate 2. Infant learns to distinguish between familiar ppl and strangers  do not protest when a caregiver departs; they are not truly attached to this person 3. 7 months: specific attachments develop; actively seek contact with regular caregivers 4. 2 year mark: goal corrected partnership – children become aware of other ppl feelings, goals, and plans and begin to consider these things in formulating their own actions - What it means to be attached  By the time they are 1 have formed an attachment to one special person  Separation distress/protest: infants distress reaction to being separated from the attachment object, usually the mother, which typically peaks at about 15 months of age - Attachment to whom  Although infants are likely to develop initial attachment to the mother, they also form attachments to other familiar ppl with whom they interact frequently and fondly  Rather than being the primary caregiver, the father may play a special role in his infants life by being a playmate; spending four to five times more time playing with their infant than caring for them  Number of attachments a child can form is limited The nature and quality of attachment - Secure attachment: babies are able to explore novel environments, are minimally disturbed by brief separations from their mother, and are quickly comforted by her when she returns - Different types of attachment relationships  Strange situation (SS) (Ainsworth): research scenario in which parent and child are separated and reunited so that investigators can assess the nature and quality of the parent-infant attachment relationship  Ainsworth’s classification of attachment types  60-65% = secure attachment (Type B) – sought contact with her after stress of departure and quickly comforted; wanted to explore  Remaining children were insecurely attached o 20% = Insecure-avoidant attachment (Type A): babies seem not to be bother by their brief absences but specifically avoid her when she returns, sometimes becoming visibly upset o 10-15% = Insecure-ambivalent attachment (Type C): babies tend to become very upset at the departure of their mother and exhibit inconsistent behaviour on the mother’s return, sometimes seeking contact, sometimes pushing their mother away  Beyond Ainsworth’s A-B-C classification  Insecure-disorganized attachment (Type D): babies seem disorganized and disoriented when reunited with their mother after separation  Attachment types and the brain  Geraldine Dawson examined EEG activity in the prefrontal cortex of 1 yr old infants during a series of episodes that were similar to a SS  Found that infants whose behaviour indicated that they were insecurely attached to their mothers compared with infants who were securely attached showed less activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex and more right side activation - Parents role in infants attachment development  Biological preparation  Mothers undergo hormonal changes making them sensitive to infants cries etc  Men undergo hormonal changes – for many testosterone level drop after the baby is born  These men are more responsive to the infant cues such as crying and are likely to hold a baby doll longer  Hormonal shifts marked for men close to their partner during pregnancy  Link between care giving and attachment  After the baby is born, development of a secure attachment depends on close contact between infant and parent  Developing a secure attachment also depends on specific aspects of the parents behaviour  Ainsworth identified 4 features of mothers’ behaviour that were associated with the quality of their infants’ attachment: 1. Mothers of securely attached infants were more sensitive to their baby’s signals, interpreted them accurately and responded to them promptly and
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