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PSYCO347 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Empathic Accuracy, Communicative Competence, Universal Grammar

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Jennifer Passey
Study Guide

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Chapter 3: Our Social Nature
Relationships: Our Evolutionary Heritage
- Based o osideatio of ou speies’ phsial uleailit, ad of the a suial
challenged faced by our ancestral forebears, some relationship scholars have proposed that the
most important feature of our evolutionary heritage was and still is selection for small group
o Some theorists posit that coordinated group living has been the primary survival
strategy of the human species from its earliest origins through the present day
o In other words, early humans who possessed features and attributes that facilitated
successful social interaction and group living who cooperated for food gathering and
defense, established enduring alliances, attracted mates and formed long term
pairbonds, and reared their young survived, reproduced, and contributed to the
genetic heritage of modern-day humans
The Need to Belong
- The need to belong represent one of the most interesting and basic aspects of our evolved
o Over evolutionary time, our species developed a fundamental, powerful, and pervasive
drive to form and maintain at least a minimum of lasting, positive, and significant
interpersonal attachments a need to belong
o According to Baumeister & Leary, there is a great deal of evidence which supports the
hypothesis that humans are motivated to establish and maintain interpersonal bonds,
for example:
People form social bonds quickly and easily
People are extremely reluctant to break or dissolve social bonds
Social attachments exert substantial influence on how people think, and
relationship issues are the focus of much of our cognitive activity
“oial ods ae stogl assoiated ith people’s eotioal states – that is,
with how they feel
o According to Baumeister and Leary: frequent interactions with a large number of casual
(non-intimate) partners or by having an intimate attachment that lacks frequent
interaction not sufficient to fulfill the need to belong; rather, positive interactions in
the context of an ongoing and valued relationship are what matter/what we need
The Human Infant: Born Ready to Relate
- It is not surprising that we come into the world biologically ready to form relationships
o All babies are born with a set of innate biological endowments that facilitate social
interaction and relationship formation
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The Attachment System
- One of these important biological gifts is the attachment system
o John Bowlby originally proposed the evolutionary concept of attachment, defined as the
iate ad adaptie popesit of hua eigs to ake stog affetioal ods to
particular others
o According to attachment theory, human infants enter the world predisposed to
eotioall id theseles to the othe, fathe, o pia aegie
This evolved predisposition manifests itself in a set of instinctive goal directed
responses, called attachment behaviours, which serve to promote physical
proximity to primary caregivers (called attachment figures) thereby enhancing
the infants chance of survival
o Thee ae thee ipotat lies of eseah hih otiute to Bol’s belief that
attachment is an integral part of human nature
1. Clinical observations of the impact of disrupted parent-child relationships
During the 30s & 40s Bowlby and others began documenting the harmful effects
of prolonged hospitalization, institutional foster care, parental health, and other
disuptios of the fail elatioship o hilde’s pesoalit deelopet ad
socio-emotional functioning findings showed that the quality of this
relationship produced consequences that extend beyond infancy
2. Ethological research on imprinting in birds
Duig the 5s, Bol eae aae of Koad Loez’s ok o the
istitie folloig espose i gosligs ad dukligs, hih deostated
the biological underpinnings of the relationships that develop between offspring
and parents in many non-human species
3. Psychological research on affectional responses in monkeys
Duig this tie, Bol also leaed of Ha Halo’s ok o otat
ofot i fosteig the deelopet of affetioal esposes i ifant
Halo’s okes shoed a pefeee fo a soft, loth-covered surrogate
othe ho poided o food oe a had, ie-covered surrogate who did
provide food thus leading to the conclusion that one function of a parent is
to provide a haven of safety for the infant
Differences in Attachment Pattern
- A ifat’s attahet ehaious ae desiged to pull suppotie ehaiou fo his o he
primary attachment figures by activating innate caregiving systems
- Bowly noted that parents of crying babies generally experience a strong urge to behave in ways
to reduce the infants distress
o Of course, not all parents have the same caregiving systems and thus behave differently
than others; thus not all infants form the same kind of affective relationship or
attachment style with their primary caregiver
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- To assess qualitative differences in attachment, relationship scientists typically use the Strange
Situation procedure deeloped  Bol’s olleague
o The Strange Situation activates the attachment system by exposing young children
etee  ad 8 oths to stage o ufailia people ad settigs i a
laboratory setting
o This procedure consists of 8 episodes, all but the first of which last for approximately 3
Following a brief introduction to the laboratory room (Episode 1), the caregiver
(typically the mother) and child are left alone for 3 minutes (Episode 2). A
stranger than enters, remaining for 3 minutes in the room with both the mother
and the child (Episode 3) and then signalling the mother to leave (Episode 4).
After the child has been alone with the stranger for the requisite period of time,
the mother returns and the stranger leaves (Episode 5). The mother exists once
more, and the child is left alone in the room (Episode 6). Finally, the stranger
re-enters the room (Episode 7) and is joined 3 minutes later by the mother
(Episode 8)
o The hild’s esposes duig this odeatel stessful seies of episodes ae used to
assess the quality of his or her attachment to the caregiver
Behaviours particularly those enacted during the two reunion episodes are
scored for proximity seeking (efforts to gain or regain physical contact with the
mother) and are divided into the following:
Contact Maintenance: efforts to maintain self-initialized physical
contact with the mother
Avoidance: any active avoidance of proximity to or interaction with the
Resistance: negative behaviours [often accompanied with anger] in
espose to the othe’s otat attepts
o Children typically display one of 3 kinds of behaviour patterns during the Strange
Situation, each of which is presumed to be the product of their history of interaction
with the caregiver: secure, insecure/resistant, or insecure/avoidant
Secure Attachment: Children who display the secure attachment pattern
display high levels of proximity-seeking and contact maintaining behaviours and
little to no resistant or avoidant behaviour
Children with this attachment style tend to use their caregiver as a
secure base for exploration in the unfamiliar environment
Distress actively seek her for comfort
When the caregiver leaves, they do not become unduly stressed but are
confident in her return
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