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Attachment. Emotional Attachment. Attachment is the bond that forms between an infant and their primary caregiver. Important development in the social and emotional life of an infant Occurs within the first 6 months of life All primates Physical touch and cuddling.

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emotional attachment
Emotional Attachment
  • Attachment is the bond that forms between an infant and their primary caregiver.
  • Important development in the social and emotional life of an infant
  • Occurs within the first 6 months of life
  • All primates
  • Physical touch and cuddling
harlow s monkey study
Harlow’s Monkey Study
  • Studied rhesus monkeys with two kinds of artificial mothers.
    • Wire mother with a bottle
    • Terry cloth mother
  • Psychologists predicted that babies would become attached to mother who provided food.
harlow s monkey study1
Harlow’s Monkey Study
  • (begin at 2:09)
harlow s findings 1958 1966
Harlow’s Findings(1958, 1966)
  • The baby monkeys ran to the terry cloth mother when scared, and by cuddling up to it, were calmed down.
  • Contact comfort more important in attachment than the providing of nourishment.
  • Contact Comfort – The innate pleasure derived from close physical contact, and is the basis of attachment.
separation anxiety
Separation Anxiety
  • Once babies become attached to their mothers, separation becomes difficult and distressing.
  • 7-9 months, babies become fearful of strangers.
  • Show separation anxiety when their caregiver leaves them.
  • Continues until ages 2-3.
mary ainsworth s strange situation 1973 1979
Mary Ainsworth’sStrange Situation (1973, 1979)
  • An experiment that measures the attachment of an infant to their mother.
  • Procedure:
    • Mother brings baby into unfamiliar room with toys.
    • A stranger enters the room.
    • The mother leaves the room.
    • The mother returns and the stranger leaves.
  • Observers carefully watch how the child behaves with the mother, with the stranger, and when the mother returns.
attachment styles secure attachment
Attachment StylesSecure Attachment
  • Secure attachment (2/3 of children):
  • Babies are clearly distressed when the mother leaves.
  • When the mother returns the baby becomes happy again and is able to play.
  • Baby is obviously more attached to the mother than the stranger.
  • Secure attachment is desired in the U.S. Leads to healthy adult relationships.
attachment styles insecure attachment
Attachment StylesInsecure Attachment
  • Two types of insecure attachment:
  • Avoidant:
    • Does not care if the mother leaves the room.
    • Does not seek contact with her when she returns.
    • Treats the stranger the same as the mother.
  • (1:58-2:40)
attachment styles insecure attachment1
Attachment StylesInsecure Attachment
  • Anxious or ambivalent:
    • Protests when the mother leaves, but when she returns, the baby is not comforted.
    • May be angry with the mother, and resist her.
  • (2:40-end)
  • Insecure attachment (avoidant and anxious/ambivalent) can lead to emotional and behavioral problems in childhood, which may carry throughout the life.
a mother s impact
A mother’s impact
  • Ainsworth believed that the attachment of the child was entirely the result of the mother’s care.
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness = a secure baby
  • Insensitivity, unresponsiveness and coldness= insecure baby
later research
Later research
  • Neglect and abuse obviously negatively impact a child.
  • Differences in normal child-rearing practices do not affect attachment style.
  • Child’s genetic temperament impacts attachment.
  • Stressful circumstances can shift the attachment from secure to insecure.
cultural differences
Cultural Differences
  • Germany – babies are left on their own to become self-reliant.
  • Africa – babies spend ½ of their time without the mother. They do not develop 1-on-1 attachment.
  • Japan- babies seem ambivalent to Westerners because they are clingy, dependent, and passive. Japanese regard this as normal because of the importance of the connection to others.