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Lecture 5

Course Code
Geoffrey Mac Donald

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Lecture 5: Attachment
The attachment system
Promote bonding of infant and caregiver: infants seeks PROXIMITY when distressed
oEvolutionary perspective: infants depend on moms for nutrition and security
oCrying gain attention obtain what you want
Separation leads to
oProtest: crying and searching to regain contact with attachment figure
oDespair: deeper distress such as depression (less agitated negative affect)
oDetachment: symptoms of subside (stop relying on attachment figure; disinvesting themselves)
Relationship bonds follow similar patterns
oRomantic partners seek proximity when distressed
Distress primes (ie: termupset) automatically activate attachment concepts (ie:love)
Adult pair bonding
Humans appears to have evolved to facilitate paternal care of offspring
oNot only having children, but raising them to have their own children
Attachment theory
Working models developed in childhood by the way they are treated as children
A)Model of self: am I worthy to be loved?
B)Model of others: can you trust others that they are available and responsive
Childhood experiences influence, but DO NOT DETERMINE adult attachment
oConstantly updated based on new relationships
oWorking models = just foundation
The strange situation experiment
oInfants behavior observed when moms left and returned
a)Secure: upset seek proximity relieve distress when reunited
b)Anxious-ambivalent: VERY upset angry reaction (cant easily soothe)
c)Avoidant: DON’T CARE outward but emotions may be going on underneath
Refined measurement
Anxiety (model of self): worry about being loved
Avoidance (model of others):
oHigh: DISMISSIVE TYPE (less worry about being loved AND cant trust others)& FEARFUL TYPE
Adult attachment interview
Assesses HOW childhood/adolescent attachment experiences are PROCESSED (NOT JUST CONTENT)
oSecures: coherent, collaborative, discuss positive and negative experience objectively
oPreoccupied (high anxious): excessive discourse often straying from original questions, strong negative
oDismissive (high avoidant): idealized representations of caregivers, dismiss or normalize negative
experiences (having trouble looking back childhood, just suppress and dismiss); best predicted by low
coherence (pretend themselves they were never upset)
Different behaviors according to attachment styles
A)Secure behavior
oMost stable and satisfying relationships
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