ModuleFourLessonOneAssignmentReadingAinsworth.pdf - sim...

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simplypsychology.org by Saul McLeod Mary Ainsworth John Bowlby (1969) believed that attachment was an all or nothing process. However, research has shown that there are individual dif f erences in attachment quality. Indeed one of the primary paradigms in attachment theory is that of the security of an individual’s attachment (Ainsworth 1970, 1978). Much research in psychology has f ocused on how f orms of attachment dif f er between inf ants. For example, Schaf f er and Emerson (1964) discovered what appeared to be innate dif f erences in sociability in babies; some babies pref erred cuddling more than others, f rom very early on, bef ore much interaction had occurred to cause such dif f erences. However, it was probably the psychologist Mary Ainsworth (1913 - 1999) who provided the most f amous body of research of f ering explanations of individual dif f erences in attachment. It’s easy enough to know when you are attached to someone because you know how you f eel when you are apart f rom that person, and, being an adult, you can put your f eelings into words and describe how it f eels. However, most attachment research is carried out using inf ants and young children, so psychologists have to devise subtle ways of researching attachment styles, using involving the observational method. Psychologist Mary Ainsworth devised an assessment technique called the Strange Situation Classification (SSC) in order to investigate how attachments might vary between children. The Strange Situation was devised by Ainsworth & Wittig (1969) and was based on Ainsworth’s previous Uganda (1967) and later Baltimore studies (Ainsworth et al., 1971, 1978). The Ainsworth and Bell (1970) observational study of individual dif f erences in attachment is described below. Strange Situation Procedure The security of attachment in one- to two-year-olds was investigated by Ainsworth and Bell (1970) in the ' strange situation ' study, in order to determine the nature of attachment behaviors and styles of attachment. Ainsworth (1970) developed an experimental procedure in order to observe the variety of attachment f orms exhibited between mothers and inf ants. The experiment is set up in a small room with one way glass so the behavior of the inf ant can be observed. Inf ants were aged between 12 and 18 months. The sample comprised about 100 middle class American f amilies. The procedure, known as the ‘ Strange Situation ’, was conducted by observing the behavior of the inf ant in a series of seven 3-minute episodes, as f ollows ( click on the image below ):
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(1) Parent and infant alone. (2) Stranger joins parent and infant. (3) Parent leaves infant and stranger alone. (4) Parent returns and stranger leaves. (5) Parent leaves; infant left completely alone.
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  • Spring '17
  • Mary Ainsworth, strange situation

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