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Ainsworth and Bell (1970)

Ainsworth and Bell (1970)



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Published by Chloe
AS Psychology Notes
AS Psychology Notes

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Published by: Chloe on May 10, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Ainsworth and Bell (1970)Secure and Insecure AttachmentsThe Strange Situation TestAims:To investigate individual differences in types of infant attachment using theStrange Situation test.Procedure:The Strange Situation test lasts for just over 20 minutes and was used onAmerican infants aged between 12 and 18 months. The study took placein a laboratory and the method used was a controlled observation.The Strange Situation test consists of 8 stages:StagePeople in the RoomProcedure1 (30 seconds)Mother, Infant & ResearcherThe Researcher bringsthe Mother andInfant into the roomand then leaves.2 (3 minutes)Mother & InfantThe Mother sits downand the Infant isfree to explore.3 (3 minutes)Mother, Infant & StrangerA Stranger enters andtalks to theMother and theInfant. The Mother then leaves the room.4 (3 minutes)Infant & StrangerThe Stranger keepstrying to talk toand play with the Infant.5 (3 minutes)Mother & InfantThe Stranger leaves theroom as the Mother returns. At the
end of this stage theMother leaves theroom.6 (3 minutes)InfantThe Infant is alone inthe room.7 (3 minutes)Infant & StrangerThe Stranger returnsand tries tointeract with the Infant.8 (3 minutes)Mother & InfantThe Mother returns andtries to interact with theInfant. TheStranger leavesthe room.Findings:There were considerable individual differences in behaviour and emotionalresponse in the Strange Situation.70% of the infants were categorised as securely attached. 10% of the infantsdisplayed behaviour of resistant attachment, and the remaining 20%were classed as having avoidant attachments.Infants who were classed as securely attached were distressed by their caregivers absence. There was a clear difference in the infant’s reactionto the caregiver and to the stranger. Infants who showed behaviour of having aresistant attachment showed conflicting emotions as they were verydistressed at separation from their caregiver but resisted their caregiver onreunion. Avoidant attachment was characterised by detachment as theinfants did not seek contact with their caregiver and showed little distress atseparation from their caregiver.Conclusions:Secure attachment is the preferred type of attachment.Criticisms:The Strange Situation test was created and tested in the United States and maybe culturally biased reflecting the norms and values of American culture.

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