Social and personality development in infancy
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Chapter 6:. Social and Personality Development in Infancy. In This Chapter. Theories of Social and Personality Development Psychoanalytic Perspectives: Freud and Erikson. Freud: psychosexual stage related to infant attempts at needs satisfaction Oral stage

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Social and Personality Development in Infancy

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Chapter 6:

Social and Personality Development in Infancy

In This Chapter

Theories of Social and Personality DevelopmentPsychoanalytic Perspectives: Freud and Erikson

Freud: psychosexual stage related to infant attempts at needs satisfaction

  • Oral stage

  • Mother-child symbiotic relationship

  • Nursing; fixation

Erikson: psychosocial stage in which attending to infant needs and social development important

  • Trust versus mistrust

  • Relationship goes beyond feeding

AttachmentThe Parent’s Attachment to the Infant

Synchrony: Opportunity for parent-infant development of mutual, interlocking pattern of attachment behaviors

Takes practice to develop

Provides developmental benefits

Theories of Social and Personality DevelopmentEthological Perspectives: John Bowlby

Attachment: Emotional bond in which a person’s sense of security is bound up in the relationship

Strong emotional bond-making is innate

Bonds maintained by instinctive behaviors that create and sustain proximity

AttachmentThe Parent’s Attachment to the Infant

Mother’s bond with infant

Bond dependent on synchrony

Mothers provide more routine caregiving than fathers.

After first few weeks, mothers talk to and smile more at baby.

AttachmentThe Parent’s Attachment to the Infant

Father’s bond with infant

The relationship depends on synchrony.

Fathers have same repertoire as mothers.

After first few weeks, fathers begin to spend more time playing with baby.

AttachmentThe Infant’s Attachment to the Parents

Characteristics of attachment

Safe haven

Secure base

Proximity maintenance

Separation distress

Now let’s look at how several theorists operationalize this construct.

AttachmentThe Infant’s Attachment to the Parents

Establishing attachment: Bowlby’s 4 phases

  • Nonfocused orienting and signaling (0–3 months)

  • Focus on one or more figures (3–6 months)

  • Secure base behavior (6–24 months)

  • Internal model (24 months and beyond)

AttachmentThe Infant’s Attachment to the Parents

Establishing attachment: Bowlby’s 4 phases

How would you recognize each of Bowlby’s phases?

What behaviors would you expect to see?

AttachmentThe Infant’s Attachment to the Parents

Attachment behaviors

AttachmentSecure and Insecure Attachments

Mary Ainsworth

Protocol: The Strange Situation

Attachment styles:

Secure attachment

Insecure/avoidant attachment

Insecure/ambivalent attachment

Insecure/disorganized attachment

AttachmentStability of Attachment Quality

Attachment stability

Dependent on consistency of child’s life circumstances

Influenced by major upheavals

Internal models elaborated from year 1 until the age of 4 or 5

AttachmentCaregiver Characteristics and Attachment

Caregivers and attachment

Several characteristics influence the attachment process:

  • Emotional availability

  • Contingent responsiveness

AttachmentSecure and Insecure Attachments

Insecure attachments

  • Insecure/avoidant attachment

  • Insecure/ambivalent attachment

  • Insecure/disorganized attachment

AttachmentCaregiver Characteristics and Attachment

Other caregiver characteristics influencing secure attachment

  • Marital status

  • Education

  • Age

  • SES

  • Mental health



Questions To Ponder

What kind of attachment do you have with your parents? Has it changed since you were a child, or does it reflect the type of attachment you had when you were younger?

What factors will influence your choice of childcare if the one or both parents decide to work? What would be best for your child?

AttachmentAttachment Quality: Long Term Consequences

The securely attached:

  • More sociable

  • More positive in relationships with friends

  • Less clingy and dependent on teachers

  • Less aggressive and disruptive

  • More emotionally mature

    Continues into adolescence

  • More likely to be leaders

  • Have higher self-esteem

AttachmentAttachment Quality: Long-Term Consequences

Attachment quality and consequences

  • Increased sociability throughout early, middle, and late adulthood

  • Influence on parenting behaviors

  • Foundation for future social relationships

Figure 6.1 Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Attachment Categories

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptDefinitions

Personality: Stable patterns in how people relate to those around them

Temperament: Basic behavioral and emotional predispositions

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptDimensions of Temperament

Dimensions of temperament: How are these theorist alike? Different?

  • Thomas and Chess

  • Buss and Plomin

    How might results differ when temperament is viewed as a trait rather than a category?

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptOrigins and Stability of Temperament


  • Identical twins more alike in temperament than fraternal twins

    Long-term Stability

  • Stable across long periods of time

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptNeurological Processes


  • Basic differences in behaviors related to underlying neurological processes

  • Neurotransmitters regulate brain responses to new information and unusual situations.

  • Still difficult to demonstrate conclusively that neurological differences are cause or effect

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptOrigins and Stability of Temperament


Sandra Scarr

  • Niche-picking

    Thomas and Chess

  • Goodness of fit

    Synchronous relationships

    Parental influence with children at temperamental extremes

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptUnderstanding Infant Sense of Self

Stop and Think!

During the same months in which infants are developing an internal model of attachment and exploring their own unique temperament, they are also developing a unique sense of self.

What implication does this have for parents and caregivers?

Personality, Temperament, and Self-Concept


The subjective self

  • Awareness by the child that he is separate from others and endures over time

  • Appears by 8–12 months at the same time as object permanence


The objective self

  • Toddler comes to understand he is an object in the world.

  • The self has properties, such as gender.

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptStudying Self-Awareness

Rouge test (Lewis and Brooks)

Children at 21 months show self-recognition in a mirror.

What does this tell us about children’s development? How do you know?

Figure 6.2: The Rouge Test

Personality, Temperament, and Self-ConceptThe Emotional Self

First, babies learn to identify changes in emotional expression.

Gradually they learn to “read” and respond to facial expressions.

With age and experience, infants learn to interpret emotional perceptions of others to anticipate actions and guide own behavior.

True or False?

Nonparental, quality care is beneficial for all children.

Effects of Nonparental CareOverview

Arrangements vary considerably.

Time in care varies.

Some children in multiple care settings

Younger children less likely to receive nonparental care

Figure 6.3 Nonparental Care Arrangements for Children under 6 in the U.S.

Effects of Nonparental CareEffects on Cognitive Development

High-quality daycare has beneficial effects, especially for children from poor families.

Later scores in reading and math related to daycare entry age and poverty

Effects of Nonparental CareEffects on Social Development

Infant daycare has negative effects on attachment if started under 1 year.

Parents whose behaviors are associated with insecure attachment have children who are negatively affected by early daycare.

Early day care associated with greater risks for social problems in school-age children

Effects of Nonparental Care Research Challenges

Complex interaction among numerous variables in all care types

Nonparental care varies in quality and structure.

Maternal attitudes toward care arrangement vary.

Multiple care settings difficult to separate

Effects of Nonparental CareWhat’s Responsible?

Nonparental care may induce child stress, causing higher levels of cortisol.

Variations in ways stress-induced related to child age and temperament

Individual and gender differences interact with nonparental care.

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