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Chapter 4

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC21H3
Professor
David Haley
Semester
Fall

Description
CHAPTER 4 – Attachment: Learning to Love - attachment: strong emotional bond that forms between infant and caregiver in second half of child’s first year Theories of Attachment PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY - infants become attached to mother because associate her w/ gratification of instinctual drive to obtain pleasure through sucking and oral stimulation (oral stage of development) - not correct, but drew attention to notion of attachment and to importance of early contact between mother and infant LEARNING THEORIES - drive-reduction learning theorists: mother becomes attachment object because she reduces baby’s primary drive of hunger, wanting mother’s presence is secondary or learned drive  challenged this: baby monkey preferred cloth mother even though it didn’t dispense food - operant-conditioning learning theorists: suggest basis for development of attachment isn’t feeding, but visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation infants receive from caregivers  attachment not automatic, develops over time as result of satisfying interactions w/ responsive adults COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY - ability to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar ppl, awareness that ppl continue to exist even when can’t be seen –object permanence: understanding that objects have continuous existence apart from baby’s own interactions w/ them - cognitive development account for gradual shift in ways attachment is expressed  as grow older=physical proximity becomes less important  can maintain contact w/ parent through words, smiles, and looks  able to understand parental absences ETHOLOGICAL THEORY - imprinting: birds and other infrahuman animals develop preference for person or object to which they are first exposed during brief, critical period after birth - John Bowlby suggested attachment has its roots in similar set of instinctual responses important for protection and survival of species  infants and parents biologically prepared to respond to each other’s eliciting behaviours=develop mutual attachment - evolutionary biases in infant’s learning abilities make it likely that they’ll use parent as secure base: safety zone that infant can retreat to for comfort and reassurance when stressed or frightened while exploring the environment  Bowlby attachment linked to exploration How Attachment Develops FORMATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF ATTACHMENT - can be divided into four phases – table 4.1, p.115  passed the 2yr mark=Bowlby calls it goal-corrected partnership: result of advances in cognitive development, become aware of other’s feelings, goals, and plans and begin to consider these in formulating own actions WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ATTACHED - by 1yr old=formed attachment to one special person  express separation distress/protest: infant’s distress reaction to being separated from attachment object, usually mother, which typically peaks at about 15 months of age ATTACHMENT TO WHOM? - can form attachment to any familiar individual, but mother usually first object of affection  not surprising, primary caregivers for most infants during first year of life - also form attachments to other familiar ppl they interact frequently and fondly (important in evolutionary perspective) - fathers may play special role as playmate The Nature and Quality of Attachment - secure attachment: babies able to explore novel environments, minimally disturbed by brief separations from their mother, and quickly comforted by her when she returns DIFFERENT TYPES OF ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIPS - strange situation: research scenario in which parent and child are separated and reunited so that investigators can assess nature and quality of parent-infant attachment relationship  table 4.2, p.118; table 4.3, p.120 Ainsworth’s Classification of Attachment Types - insecure-avoidant attachment (Type A): babies seem not to be bothered by mother’s brief absences but specifically avoid her when she returns, sometimes becoming visibly upset - insecure-ambivalent attachment (Type C): babies tend to become very upset at departure of their mother and exhibit inconsistent behaviour on mother’s return, sometimes seeking contact, sometimes pushing her away Beyond Ainsworth’s A-B-C Classification - insecure-disorganized attachment (Type D): babies seem disorganized and disoriented when reunited w/ their mother after separation - types A-D identified in strange situation when children about 1 year old - ages 3-6 separations lengthened to reflect changes in maturity, conversation and dialogue between child and parent play more central role Other Strategies for Assessing Attachment - coding behaviour in strange situation along specific scales rather than  two dimensions: proximity-seeking versus avoidance: reflects degree to which children’s attachment systems organized around goal of proximity maintenance, range from using caregiver as secure haven to minimizing contact; anger and resistance: amount of overt conflict and anger expressed toward caregiver  compared w/ traditional three attachment types (secure, avoidant, ambivalent) - attachment Q-Set (AQS): based on lengthy observation of child at home or judgment of parent or other caregiver who knows child well –table 4.4, p.120  useful between ages 1-5  provides score reflecting how much child resemble hypothetical securely attached child (doesn’t classify type) - California attachment procedure (CAP): assess how children use mother as secure base when exp. stressful events –uses Ainsworth’s attachment types Attachment Types and the Brain - left prefrontal cortex=specialized for expression of positive approach emotions (joy and interest) - right prefrontal cortex=specialized for expression of withdrawal emotions (distress, disgust, and fear) PARENTS’ ROLE IN INFANTS’ ATTACHMENT DEVELOPMENT Biological Preparation - hormones prepare mothers and fathers to begin parenting infant  mothers during pregnancy and childbirth=sensitive to infant cries and primed for tasks of motherhood  fathers testosterone lvls drop after birth, especially marked if closely involved w/ wives during pregnancy Link Between Caregiving and Attachment - after birth, development of secure attachment depends on close contact between infant and parent - also depends on specific aspects of parent’s behaviour  Ainsworth four features of mothers’ behaviour associated w/ quality of infants’ attachment (secure) 1) sensitive to baby’s signals, interpreted accurately, and responded promptly and appropriately 2) geared behaviour to baby’s state, mood, and interests, didn’t interrupt/interfere w/ baby’s activity 3) accepting of baby, acceptance override frustrations, irritations, or limitations they felt=never rejecting 4) physically and psychologically available, aware of baby, alert to their signals, and actively acknowledge and responded to them, didn’t ignore baby - variety of studies sensitive and responsive style of caregiving associated w/ development of secure attachments  fathers’ sensitivity related too - interactive synchrony: link between parent and infant appears in earliest months of life=continuously adjust behaviour to baby’s=pair is engaged in smooth-flowing “dance”  securely attached had more synchronous patterns of interaction w/ mother - parents’ insightfulness –more insightful=appreciate infant’s feelings, accurate and empathic interpretations of baby’s signals, and adjust responses to suit baby’s needs - parenting characteristics important as children get older  relationship is secure=mother is suppor
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