Bolwby’s Attachment Theory
•The Infant’s Ties to its Mother
oMother as “secure base” — exploratory behavior
oMother as “safe haven” — proximity-seeking
•The Attachment System
oAn evolved, goal-directed, behavioral system
oi.e., a “mommy-stat” or “proximity-stat”
oInternal representations of infants’ early experiences of parental
support or parental neglect
o emotional, social links; children link with primary caregiver (mom)
oUse mom as secure base to explore; as long as she is around, they are
encouraged to explore (secure based behaviour)
oIf too far from mom—enfant will return to mom to ensure safety
Evolutionary adaptation where if infant feels stress, then mother
feels stress designates a safe, proper and acceptable distance.
More dangerous and threatening the environment = closer
proximity to mom
oWorking: children building expectations internal representation of
whether or not you will receive care or support if requested
Ainsworth’s Strange Situation
•Separation anxiety – separation from mother = upset child
•Stranger anxiety – presence of stranger = upset child
1. Infant explores.
2. Introduction of a stranger.
3. Parent leaves infant with stranger — first separation.
4. Parent returns, stranger leaves quietly — first reunion.
5. Parent leaves infant alone in the room — second separation.
6. Stranger returns, initiates play with infant.
7. Parent returns, stranger leaves quietly — second reunion.
•Test provides similar reactions and level of intensity but children responded
strikingly different to each situation.
•Avoidant (far right)
oReady to explore