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Book: Attachment Across the Life Cycle

Edited by Colin Murray Parkes, Joan Stevenson!inde and Peter Marris


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Part 55
Cha#ter 6
Metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive monitoring, and singular (coherent) vs. multiple
(incoherent) models of attachment 7##4 $,8$/%9
"indin's and directions for future research
Mary Main
#4 $,:
2his cha#ter concerns some #otential relations bet)een metaco'nitive kno)led'e, metaco'nitive
functionin', and #rocesses related to attachment4 "ollo)in' a revie) of recent )ork concernin'
metaco'nition, re#resentation, and mental models, 5 su''est that difficulties )ith the ;a##earance
reality; distinction and the dual codin' of sin'le entities )ill make a youn' child vulnerable to
res#ondin' to unfavourable attachment e<#eriences by develo#in' ;multi#le 7conflictin' or
incom#atible9 models; of attachment4 5 ne<t discuss individual differences in the narratives )hich
adults #roduce durin' structured, hourlon' intervie)s re'ardin' their o)n attachment histories4
-hen a #arent #resents a coherent sin'ular model of her attachment history, the infant is ty#ically
=ud'ed ;secure; on the basis of its behavioural res#onse to that #arent in a structured #4 $,8
se#arationandreunion observation4 -hen a #arent #resents instead incoherent, multi#le models of
her e<#eriences and its influence, or im#lausible ideation, the infant is ty#ically =ud'ed insecure in
this observation4 >ur #ilot studies are indicatin' relatively advanced metaco'nitive monitorin' in
secure children, difficulties )ith accessin' early memories in insecure children, and, as e<#ected,
failure to com#rehend the #rivacy of thou'ht in :yearolds =ud'ed insecureambivalent )ith
mother4 "inally, 5 su''est some directions for further research4
5n a series of recent studies, behaviourbased assessments of individual differences in the infant;s
res#onse to se#aration from and reunion )ith the #arent in the Ains)orth Stran'e Situation
7Ains)orth et al.$%869 have been com#ared )ith individual differences in both the #arent;s
re#resentations of his or her attachment history, and the child;s later re#resentations of attachment
related situations4 2hese studies 7e4'4 Main et al4 $%6/ have sho)n si'nificant relations bet)een the
?uality of the infant;s attachment to the #arent 7secure, insecureavoidant, insecureambivalent,
insecuredisor'ani@edAdisoriented9 and 7$9 the adult;s reconstruction of his or her attachment history,
as )ell as 7,9 the child;s later re#resentation of self and others4
#4 $,6
2he connections bet)een behaviourbased infant attachment assessments and attachmentrelated
re#resentations seen in these studies are diverse, and can be considered in several )ays4 At one
level, re#resentational res#onses may sim#ly echo or ;reflect; some com#onent of the behavioural
res#onses ori'inally used to identify the cate'ory4 &e#resentations directly reflective of e<#erience
andAor the behaviours used to identify the cate'ory are demonstrated )hen a .yearold =ud'ed
secure )ith mother on the basis of #ositive res#onses to reunion )ith her #ortrays similarly #ositive
reunion res#onses in a dollfamily 7Bretherton et al. in #ress9, or )hen a :yearold )ho )as =ud'ed
avoidant of #ro<imity and contact )ith the mother in the Stran'e Situation later dra)s a family
lackin' in arms 7Ba#lan and Main $%6%94 At a more com#le< level, )e can also see a reflective
matchin' in the connection established bet)een, e4'4, a #arent;s #ro#ensities to be ;Cismissin' of
Attachment; durin' the Adult Attachment 5ntervie), and the infant;s tendency to ;dismiss; 7avoid and
i'nore9 the #arent in the Ains)orth Stran'e Situation 7Main and Dold)yn in #ressE Ains)orth and
Eichber' in this volume94
&e#resentational vs4 metare#resentational #rocesses can be rou'hly distin'uished in terms of
thinking vs4 thinking about thought, or, at a dee#er level, #ossessin' a mental re#resentation of an
e<#erience vs4 bein' able to reflect on its validity, nature, and source4 "or individuals differin' in
attachment or'anisation, 5 su''est that metare#resentational 7metaco'nitive9 #rocesses may differ as
strikin'ly as those re#resentational #rocesses )hich seem sim#ly to reflect the infant behaviour
#atterns ori'inally identifyin' #lacement in a 'iven attachment cate'ory4 2he mental #rocesses of
secure individuals may then be distin'uished from those of insecure individuals not only in terms of
their content, but also in terms of their flexibility and readiness for examination4
2he essay o#ens )ith a discussion of re#resentation, internal )orkin' models, and ;multi#le; models
of attachment fi'ures and attachmentrelated situations, follo)ed by a brief revie) of recent
literature concernin' early metaco'nition4 5 then e<amine the hy#othesis that the youn' child;s
failure to have ac?uired certain as#ects of the ;a##earancereality; distinction, and her difficulty )ith
the dualcodin' of sin'le entities, may make her #articularly vulnerable to develo#in' ;multi#le;
7conflictin'Aincom#atible9 models in res#onse to the unfavourable attachmentrelated events4
2he basis of this hy#otheses is a relatively recent literature in metaco'nition, )hich su''ests that
children under the a'e of . do not understand the merely re#resentational nature of their o)n 7or
other;s9 thinkin', because they are as yet unable to o#erate u#on 7or ;metare#resent;9 it4 (ot havin' a
metaco'nitive distinction bet)een a##earance and reality available, they are unable to ima'ine that
some #ro#ositions are in fact )ithout validityE that some individuals believe thin's )hich are not
trueE and that they themselves may have false beliefs at #resent or may have #4 $,% harboured false
beliefs in the #ast4 2hese as#ects of metaco'nitive kno)led'e have im#ortant conse?uences for
socialemotional develo#ment 7"lavell et al. $%6:9, and have usually been mastered by a'e :4
"ollo)in' the above discussion of #otential relations bet)een metaco'nition and vulnerability to
the creation of multi#le models of attachment durin' childhood, 5 turn to the differin' narratives
#roduced by adults in res#onse to the Adult Attachment 5ntervie) 7Deor'e et al. $%6/94 2he most
strikin' feature of the narrative #roduced by a #arent )hose infant is =ud'ed secure )ith him or her
in the Ains)orth Stran'e Situation is its coherence. 2his coherence a##ears both in an analysis
based u#on Drice;s ;ma<ims; )ith res#ect to coherence of discourse 7Drice $%8/9, and in terms of
overall #lausibility, and su''ests that the adult is )orkin' )ith a sin'ular model of his or her
attachmentrelated e<#eriences 7cf4 JohnsonLaird $%6.94 Parents of insecure infants, in contrast,
#resent ;multi#le; models of attachmentrelated e<#eriences, andAor strikin' la#ses in #lausibility4
2hese studies link the coherence of a onehour narrative concernin' an adult;s attachment history to
an e<ternal criterion F the infant;s res#onse to that adult as a #arent in a stressful situation 7Main and
Dold)yn in #ress9, and, relatedly, the #arent;s behaviour to)ard the infant 7Cro)ell and "eldman
$%6694
5n the fourth section of this essay 5 e<amine the #ro#osal that children =ud'ed secure )ith the
#arent7s9 are likely, on avera'e, to be more advanced than insecure children )ith res#ect to
metaco'nitive kno)led'e and metaco'nitive monitorin' of attachmentrelated e<#eriences4 "or
youn' children, these e<#eriences are e<#ected not only to influence the develo#ment of certain
firstorder re#resentations 7in #hiloso#hical terms4 #ro#ositional attitudes such as ;5 believe that 5 am
an un)orthy #erson;9, but may also influence the child;s ability to create and mani#ulate second
order re#resentations 7metare#resentations9 such as ;5 find myself believin' that 5 am an un)orthy
#erson F )hyG;4 5n other )ords, e<#eriences )ith the #arents may not only alter the contents of the
youn' child;s mind, but may also alter her ability to operate upon those contents. Pilot studies
su''estin' su##ort for this hy#othesis are revie)ed, and the essay ends )ith some su''estions for
future studies4
REPRESEN!"#N, "NERN!$ %#R&"N' M#(E$S, !N( )M*$"P$E)
M#(E$S + !N #,ER,"E% #- RE.EN $"ER!*RE
Representation
2he recent interest in the connections bet)een attachment and attachment re#resentation leads
naturally to a concern )ith the nature of re#resentation itself4 2he ob=ective of this section is to
revie) some recent )ork involvin' #4 $.1 mental re#resentation and metaco'nition, )ith a vie) to
considerin' the conce#t of the ;internal )orkin' model; and differences observed in the coherence
of that model across individuals4
A first distinction bet)een re#resentations is that bet)een re#resentational artifacts 7such as
dra)in's, or intervie) transcri#ts9 and the internal #rocesses )hich they are #resumed to re#resent
7Mandler $%6.94 Althou'h )e infer the nature of a child;s or adult;s internal re#resentations of
attachment from her re#resentational artifacts, it is the internal re#resentation itself )hich is of
interest to attachment theorists4 2)o initial ?uestions are: 7$9 -hat is the form 7or forms9 taken by
internal re#resentation, and, relatedly, 7,9 should )e #resume that thinkin' unfailin'ly follo)s the
rules of formal lo'icG
2he continuin' dialo'ue amon' #hiloso#hers, com#uter scientists, and #sycholo'ists indicates that
the form taken by internal re#resentations remains unkno)n4 2hus, it is at #resent undetermined
)hether thinkin' 7and by im#lication, the ;internal )orkin' model;9 is entirely reducible to
#ro#ositions 7"odor $%86E Pylyshyn $%6*9, or mental ima'ery 7Bosslyn $%6.9, or )hether thou'ht
of both or several kinds is #ossible 7Paivo $%8$E see also Anderson $%6.94
>ne of the most interestin' recent accounts of mental modellin' has deem#hasised the role #layed
by syllo'istic lo'ic in individual com#rehensions of reality4 JohnsonLaird 7$%6.9 #ro#oses that
there are at least three ma=or kinds of re#resentations, or ;o#tions for encodin' information;:
#ro#ositional re#resentations, ima'es, and mental models4 JohnsonLaird;s conce#t of the mental
model is closely tied to Craik;s ;)orkin' model; 7$%*.9, and emer'ed from his efforts to make sense
of the kinds of e<#licit and im#licit inferences #eo#le make in #roblemsolvin' tasks, e4'4 in the
mani#ulation of syllo'isms4 An e<amination of the #atternin' of sub=ect errors convinced him that
individuals ultimately develo# an inte'rated set of ;#ictures; of the #remises )hich is then submitted
to a Po##erianlike test to determine )hether there is any )ay of inter#retin' the #remises that is
consistent )ith a denial of the conclusion4 2his is not to say that reasonin' does not sometimes take
the form of #ro#ositional lo'ic, but that reasonin' can also take #lace )ithout usin' formal lo'ic, by
usin' mental models4 Althou'h much of the research discussed by JohnsonLaird consists in the
study of sub=ects; shortterm res#onses to e<#erimental situations, his more 'eneral discussion is
fre?uently focused u#on Craik;s broader conce#t4 2hinkin' utilisin' ;mental models; )ith res#ect to
attachment mi'ht therefore be e<#ected to follo) a similar #ath4
2)o further issues concernin' use are 7$9 limits on rationality and 7,9 the relation bet)een
#erformance on tests of lo'ic and familiarity )ith the contents4 As most #sycholo'ists are no)
a)are, the ma=ority of adult sub=ects make systematic reasonin' errors under some conditions, or
may #4 $.$ en'a'e in ;ma'ical thinkin'; re'ardin' materially im#ossible sym#athetic conta'ions
amon' ob=ects 7-ason and JohnsonLaird $%8,E Bahneman and 2versky $%6,E &o@in et al.$%6:94
5n the discussion of the #otential relations bet)een reasonin' and security status )hich mi'ht be
uncovered in future e<#eriments 7belo)9, )e should remain a)are that some errors in reasonin'
should be e<#ected in even the most secure and intellectually so#histicated of sub=ects4 5n addition,
if thinkin' about human relationshi#s resembles other forms of thinkin' 7)hich it #robably does F
see Case $%6/9, then some errors in reasonin' re'ardin' attachmentrelated issues should also be
e<#ected4
"inally, some recent investi'ations su''est that individuals #erform more effectively on tests )hich
#resumably involve abstract lo'ic if they are familiar with the contents 7JohnsonLaird, et al. $%8,E
-ason and JohnsonLaird $%8,94 Similarly, Pia'et has fre?uently ar'ued that formal o#erations are
most likely to develo# in areas for )hich an individual has considerable e<#erience of concrete
o#erations4 2his relation of 'oodness of reasonin' to familiarity of content is of s#ecial interest,
since it bears u#on the )ay in )hich adult reasonin' re'ardin' attachmentrelated issues may
de#end u#on ade?uate com#rehension of earlier e<#erience4
"nternal working models
Bo)lby 7$%8.9, follo)in' Craik 7$%*.E as see Bretherton $%6/9, has selected the term ;internal
)orkin' model; to describe the individual;s internal re#resentation of the )orld, his attachment
fi'ures, himself, and the relations amon' them4 Amon' other thin's, the internal )orkin' model is
e<#ected to contain a rou'handready sketch of the environment and the self )hich can be
mentally mani#ulated #rior to undertakin' #ossible future action4 2he internal )orkin' model is
conceived as an inte'ral and necessary com#onent of the attachment behavioural system 7see
Bretherton;s dia'rammatic sketch re #lacement of the internal )orkin' model in relation to the
attachment behavioural system 7Bretherton $%6/: $1994 At a broader level, the internal )orkin'
model must contain multi#le re#resentations )hich reference not only direct e<#eriences re'ardin'
the attachment fi'ure, but also conce#ts of the self )hich are derived from such e<#eriences
7Bo)lby $%8.: Bretherton $%6/94 -ith res#ect to attachment fi'ures, for e<am#le, the model should
contain information re'ardin' )ho the attachment fi'ure7s9 areE )here they are currently locatedE
and ho) likely they are to res#ond to bids for access4 As noted above, it is clear that some model of
the )orld must e<ist in individuals ca#able of #lannin' and re#resentin' actions 7Bo)lby $%8.E
Craik $%*.E see also Cennett $%86E JohnsonLaird $%6.94 2he term stands for the fact that )e have
models of the )orld )hich enable us to act in ne) situations )ithout rethinkin' each #4 $.,
situation from the be'innin'E )hich may be mentally mani#ulatedE )hich are in #art the #roduct of
e<#erienceE and )hich may be in #art unconscious4
5t is )hen )e attem#t to assess an individual;s ;internal )orkin' model; of someone or somethin' on
the basis of his or her re#resentational artifacts, or describe systematic differences in the thinkin' of
individuals, that )e become most a)are of the difficulties )ith any literal inter#retation of the
conce#t4 5n contrast to the ;inte'ration of information relevant to attachment; seen in secure children
and adults 7Main et al. $%6/9 is the incoherence and lack of inte'ration of, or lack of access to,
information seen in those )ho are insecure )ith res#ect to attachment4 Pressed to describe and
evaluate their attachment e<#eriences and relations, insecure individuals fre?uently #resent a =umble
of contradictory thou'hts, feelin's, and intentions )hich can only loosely be described as a ;model;4
As used to characterise an insecure individual;s conce#tualisations re'ardin' attachment, then, the
term ;internal )orkin' model; is only a ;conce#tual meta#hor; 7Bretherton $%6/9 and may be
some)hat misleadin'4
Multiple models
2o account for incoherence of ideation re'ardin' attachment in troubled individuals and, in e<treme
cases, for some forms of #sycho#atholo'y, Bo)lby 7$%8.9 introduced the term ;multi#le models;, a
term that su''ests models )hich are contradictory or incom#atible in that both or several could not
be true at one time4 An e<am#le of multi#le models )ould be contradictory ideas re'ardin'
attachment fi'ures and the self, or re'ardin' the e<istence, nature, and inter#retation of attachment
related events4 Accordin' to Bo)lby, ;the hy#othesis of multi#le models, one of )hich is hi'hly
influential but relatively or com#letely unconscious, is no more than a version, in dynamic terms, of
"reud;s hy#othesis of a dynamic unconscious; 7Bo)lby $%8.: ,1/94
Bo)lby;s usa'e of the term ;multi#le models; is not, of course, intended to reference the multi#licity,
embeddin', and hierarchy of mental models )hich inevitably characterises normal mental life4 2hat
an adult mind may contain models of diverse as#ects of reality, as )ell as models of itself and
#ossible realitiesE that some models are contained )ithin, or contain othersE that hierarchies of
models of increasin' de'rees of abstraction e<ist 7Stern;s &5DS F &e#resentations of 5nteractions
)hich are Deneralised F may #rovide the basic levelE see Stern $%6/: $$*9E that conte<t affects
models, and levels of abstraction or embeddedness interact is taken for 'ranted4 2hus, Bo)lby;s
conce#t of multi#le models refers not to the diversity of models of differin' #arts or as#ects of
reality 7includin', of course, #ossibility9 mentioned above, but rather to multi#le and im#licitly
contradictory models of the same as#ect of reality4 5t refers, in short, to multi#le models of a thin'
)hich ou'ht to have a sin'ular model4
#4 $..
Because it is sim#ler to discuss contradictions bet)een #ostulates than bet)een mental ima'es, for
the remainder of this essay 5 shall discuss multi#le 7and sin'ular9 models of attachment in terms of
propositions4 2his a##roach is taken for heuristic #ur#oses only: it does not im#ly that thinkin'
about relationshi#s cannot take #lace in terms of mental ima'inin' or mental models4 Such
#ro#ositions consist of t)o #arts: a #re#ositional attitude 7believin', ho#in', )antin', fearin',
desirin'9 and a related content 7that my attachment fi'ure )ill res#ond #ositively to me )hen 5
a##roach her, that my attachment fi'ure dislikes me, etc494 ;Multi#le models; of attachmentrelated
events )ould then be described as conflictin' #ro#ositions such as, e4'4, ;5 believe that mother is
unfailin'ly lovin' and has al)ays acted in my best interestA5 believe that mother is ridiculin' and
re=ectin' and does not consider my interests; 7an e<am#le of conflictin' contents9, or, ;5 fear that
father )ill leave this familyA5 ho#e that father )ill leave this family; 7an e<am#le of conflictin'
#re#ositional attitudes94 (ote that #re#ositional attitudes can be seen as instances of the recursive
embeddin' of mental models )ithin mental models 7JohnsonLaird $%6.94
As 5 )ill sho) shortly, ho)ever, )hile youn'er thinkers have beliefs, ho#es, fears, and full
#ro#ositional attitudes, they do not usually understand that re#resentations are e<#ected to be
;semantically evaluable; 7"odor $%689, i4e4 that any 'iven re#resentation is #resumed to have
satisfaction conditions F conditions )hich may or may not be met in the )orld, but )hich are
necessary to affirmin' the truthvalue of the #ro#osition4 Even thou'h the very youn' child
reco'nises the distinction bet)een ;#retend; and ;real; entities 7Bretherton $%6*E Leslie $%689, then,
it is only the older child )ho reco'nises that our understandin' of the ;real; )orld as )ell as the
;#retend; )orld is re#resentational and can in fact be counterfactual4 2hus, most youn' children fail
to allo) for a distinction bet)een ;reality; 7)hich can never be directly com#rehended9 and our
limited and diverse re#resentational 'ras# of that ;reality; as human bein's 7Bant;s noumenal
#henomenal distinction94 And, as 5 )ill discuss later, because the youn' child )ill not look for
counterfactual conditions, she )ill be be all the more vulnerable to the early develo#ment of
multi#le models4
ME2AC>D(525>(, 2!E APPEA&A(CE&EAL520 C5S25(C25>(, A(C EA&L0
C5""5C+L25ES -52! 2!E ;C+ALC>C5(D; >" S5(DLE E(2525ES
2he term metaco'nition refers to co'nition as a tar'et of thou'ht, )hether declarative and stateable
7;5 kno) that false belief is #ossible;9 or, in a some)hat more mysterious sense 7see Marshal and
Morton $%869, #rocedural4 7;5 am #resently multi#ly accessin' my multi#le co'nitions for
contradictions and fallacies, )hich may lead to the si'nificant if unstateable #4 $.* intuition that 5
am in error;94 2he consideration of multi#le models of attachment leads directly to the to#ic of
metaco'nition, since it is likely that )here multi#le contradictory models of the self or of
e<#erience e<ist, either metaco'nitive kno)led'e has yet to develo# or there have been failures of
corrective metaco'nitive monitorin'4
Metaco'nition as a to#ic in its o)n ri'ht )as dra)n to the attention of develo#mentalists by "lavell
7$%8%9 in an article entitled ;Metaco'nition and co'nitive monitorin': a ne) area of co'nitive
develo#mental in?uiry;4 2he term metaco'nition has been described by Bro)n and her collea'ues
7Bro)n et al4 $%6.9 as referrin' to one;s ;kno)led'e and control of the domain co'nition; and more
s#ecifically to knowledge about cognition 7e4'4 the a##earancereality distinction9 and the
regulation of cognition 7e4'4 crosscheckin' for error94
2he regulation of cognition, or metacognitive monitoring, includes #lannin' activities, monitorin'
them, and checkin' outcomes4 5t necessarily includes the selfre'ulation of kno)led'e )hich should
occur )hen the thinker becomes a)are of contradictions bet)een #resently held ideas, a state )hich
ideally ou'ht to lead to co'nitive reor'anisation 75nhelder et al. $%8*E Barmiloff Smith $%8%94
Bro)n #oints out that the notion, if not the term, has a lon' history, since Binet, fascinated by
individual differences in his dau'hter;s styles of selfre'ulation, selected autocriticism as a central
com#onent of intelli'ence 7Binet $%1%, cited in Bro)n et al4 $%6.: $$894
5n contrast to the re'ulation of co'nition, knowledge about cognition refers to the secondorder
co'nition F a theoretically stateable secondorder or ;meta;re#resentation rather than the
re#resentation itself4 2hus the sim#le #ro#osition, ;5 am an un)orthy #erson; is not an e<am#le of
metaco'nition, )hereas the thou'ht that ;5 am a #erson )ho thinks that 5 am an un)orthy #erson
rather fre?uently; is a secondorder re#resentation and an e<am#le of metaco'nitive kno)led'e4
Metaco'nitive kno)led'e is described by Bro)n et al4 as ;relatively stable, stateable, often fallible,
and latedevelo#in' information that human thinkers have about their o)n co'nitive #rocesses and
those of others;4 5t is, in fact, only )hen learners have ac?uired some a##reciation of the fallible
nature of kno)led'e that they can consider their o)n co'nitive #rocesses as ob=ects of reflection4
Some critical as#ects of the ability to ste# back and consider 7one;s o)n9 co'nitive #rocesses as
ob=ects of thou'ht and reflection is ac?uired by a minority of children by . years of a'e, and sim#le
forms have been ac?uired by most 7but not all9 children by : years4 the a##earancereality
distinction is an e<am#le of kno)led'e about co'nition )hich, as Bro)n notes 7Bro)n et al4 $%6.9,
'radually becomes relatively stable and stateable, but )hich is fallible 7one can be incorrect
re'ardin' )hich is )hich9 and )hich is latedevelo#in' 7not bein' understood by youn' thinkers F
even in sim#le form F until ty#ically around * years of a'e94 Bno)led'e of the a##earancereality
distinction is an instance of the more #4 $./ 'eneral kno)led'e that the same ob=ect or event can be
re#resented 7a##rehended, e<#erienced, etc49 in different )ays by the same #erson at different times,
and can be re#resented differently by different #eo#le 7"lavell et al4 $%6:94 "or develo#mentalists,
the a##earancereality distinction is the e<am#le of metaco'nition par excellence, since it is ;the
distinction )hich #robably #rovides the intellectual basis for the fundamental e#istemolo'ical
construct common to science, HfolkI #sycholo'y, reli'ion and myth, of a real )orld Hunderlyin'I
and He<#lainin'I the #henomenal one; 7Braine and Shanks $%:/: ,*$,, cited in "lavell et al4 $%6:94
Ac?uisition of this distinction is #art of the ac?uisition of ;commonsense meta#hysics; 7"or'uson
and Do#nik $%669, )hich holds that ;there is a sin'le )orld of ob=ects, events, states of affairs,
#eo#le and other sentient bein's )hich 5 7and others9 e<#erience #erce#tually and think about, and
that this )orld is inde#endent of the thou'hts and e<#eriences 5 and others have of it;4 5t is on this
basis that children come to understand representational diversity 7)hat others kno), 5 may notE
)hat 5 kno), others may notE )hat 5 or others think may be false9 and representational change
7)hat 5 thou'ht 2hursday, 5 do not think today, and may not think tomorro) 7Do#nik and Astin'ton
$%66994 Most of these as#ects of metaco'nitive kno)led'e are available to :yearolds 7albeit in
limited form F see Chandler 7$%6699, )hile most .yearolds have not ac?uired this understandin'4
5f the results of these e<#eriments can be a##ro#riately e<tended from the laboratory, then )e can
#osit that belo) * years of a'e the child is not usually e?ui##ed to ?uery either her o)n
re#resentations of reality or those offered by attachment fi'ures4
A related source of early vulnerability to multi#le models is the #ossibility that youn' children have
s#ecial difficulty )ith the ;dualcodin'; of sin'le entities4 2he dualcodin' deficit hy#othesis has
been advanced )ith res#ect to the ;one)ord; sta'e of lan'ua'e learnin' by Markman 7$%6*E see
also Clark $%689 and is discussed )ith res#ect to the a##earancereality distinction by "lavell
7"lavell et al4 $%6:94 2he su''estion is that youn' children, )orkin' )ith an ;assum#tion of mutual
e<clusivity; 7Markman $%6*9, are unable to fit the same item into t)o cate'ories at once F a
seemin' disadvanta'e )hich may actually assist )ith early lan'ua'e learnin', )hen learnin' that
somethin' is a ;do'; rules out that it could also be a ;cat;4 &esearch on children;s understandin' of
social roles )ould also seem to bear out the notion that children e<#erience this ty#e of difficulty,
since accordin' to one study .yearolds cannot see ho) the same #erson can be simultaneously a
doctor and a father or both a father and a 'randfather 7-atson $%6*94
2he dualcodin' hy#othesis is closely related to the notion develo#ed by neoPia'etian theorists
7Case $%6/E "ischer $%619 that there is a limit to the number of #ro#ositions )hich the youn' child
can mana'e simultaneously, and that #ro#ositions or re#resentations involvin' conflictin' or
o##osin' #4 $.: emotions )ill be #articularly difficult to hold in )orkin' memory4 "or e<am#le,
"ischer 7$%619 re#orted that youn' children have difficulty com#rehendin' that the same #erson can
be both ;nice; and ;mean;4 5n a #articularly ele'ant recent study, !arter and Buddin 7$%689 )ere able
to demonstrate that the 'reat ma=ority of *yearolds use allornone thinkin' re'ardin' emotions,
and )ere unable to inte'rate sets of #ositive and ne'ative emotions either in 'eneral or )ith res#ect
to a #articular tar'et, these emotions bein' vie)ed as conce#tually distinct and therefore
incom#atible4
2!E APPEA&A(CE&EAL520 C5S25(C25>(, C+ALC>C5(D, A(C EA&L0
J+L(E&AB5L520 2> 2!E C>(S2&+C25>( >" ;M+L25PLE M>CELS;
0oun' children have al)ays been #resumed more vulnerable than older children and adults to
unfavourable attachmentrelated e<#eriences4 Some reasons mentioned to date include the youn'
child;s 'reater de#endence u#on others, her more easily activated and less easily modulated
attachment behaviour, her less fully develo#ed understandin' of the conce#ts of s#ace and time,
'reater e'ocentricity, and increased vulnerability to en'a'in' in ma'ical thinkin' )ith res#ect to
#layin' a causal role in mali'nant events 7Bo)lby $%6194 !o)ever, difficulties )ith the
a##earancereality distinction and )ith the dualcodin' of sin'le entities #rovides us )ith still other
reasons to sus#ect vulnerabilities to the creation of multi#le 7incom#atible9 models in res#onse to
unfavourable events in early childhood4
,ulnera/ilit0 to unfavoura/le interaction patterns
Bo)lby 7$%8.9 has su''ested that unfavourable interaction #atterns )ith attachment fi'ures may
render the youn' child vulnerable to the develo#ment of multi#le models of the attachment fi'ure,
and, relatedly, to the develo#ment of multi#le models of the self4 5f )e consider this early
vulnerability in the li'ht of the ne) literature concernin' metaco'nition, )e can see that the ability
to o#erate u#on #ro#ositions, to embed )orkin' models, or to reco'nise alternative )orlds, is likely
to lead to an advanta'e for the older as o##osed to the youn'er child in similar circumstances4
&elatedly, althou'h the )orkin' model of the self is #robably endan'ered by unfavourable
interactions )ith an attachment fi'ure at any a'e 7;5 am a bad #erson, since my attachment fi'ure
re=ects me;9, an older child F )ho has attained understandin' of the a##earancereality distinction
and its corollary, re#resentational diversity F )ill be advanta'ed4 As o##osed to a youn'er child,
this child can ;o#erate u#on; or metare#resent a #ro#osition such as ;5 am a bad #erson; as follo)s: 5
may be a bad #erson because my #4 $.8 attachment fi'ure seems to think so, but, on the other hand,
she has been found )ith false beliefs in other circumstances;4 +nderstandin' that #eo#le may
actually be e<#eriencin' a different emotion than the one they e<#ress 7!arris et al4 $%6:9, or that a
s#eaker can deliberately lie 7-immer et al4 $%6*9 should also assist a /yearold in situations in
)hich a .yearold remains vulnerable4
Both the ;dualcodin' hy#othesis; and children;s ne)ly re#orted difficulties )ith com#rehendin' the
#ossibility of re#resentational chan'e add to our understandin' of the difficulties and vulnerabilities
of the child )hose #arent is #rone to stron' and un#redictable chan'es in 7'oodAbad9 mood andAor
res#onsiveness4 5f, for e<am#le, youn' children have difficulties )ith the dualcodin' of sin'le
entities, then the e<#erience of e<tended interactions )ith an attachment fi'ure )hose behaviour is
un#redictable and hi'hly conflictin' 7such as the insecure#reoccu#ied #arents of insecure
ambivalent children F see Ains)orth et al4 $%86E Crom)ell and "eldman $%669 must make the
develo#ment of an or'anised overvie) of that fi'ure es#ecially unlikely, and the develo#ment of
multi#le models concernin' that fi'ure corres#ondin'ly 'reater4
-hile, at a clinical level, the youn' child;s vulnerability to the creation of multi#le models of
attachmentrelated e<#eriences has lon' been reco'nised, the dualcodin' hy#othesis su''ests more
s#ecifically 7a9 that insecure-ambivalent children )ill be es#ecially vulnerable 7b9 'iven difficulties
in the codin' of e<#eriences )hich are in fact contradictory4 5n addition, difficulties in holdin'
#ersonal re#resentational chan'es in mind 7;)hat 5 thou'ht yesterday 5 do not think today; F
Astin'ton and Do#nik $%66E Do#nik and Astin'ton $%669 )ill still further increase the likelihood of
the develo#ment of multi#le models for these children4 A child )ho has hi'hly contradictory
e<#eriences )ith the same attachment fi'ure )ill be more likely to develo# and maintain an
insecureambivalent attachment or'anisation if she is too youn' to remember #rior feelin's in the
face of ne) and different e<#eriences4
,ulnera/ilit0 to trauma
A source of ;multi#le models; of s#ecial interest to Bo)lby is the #arent;s denial or distortion of
traumatic interactions or events )hich have in fact been observed 7Bo)lby $%8.94 !ere the child
may be #resented )ith at least t)o contradictory ima'es or memories 7both stored in lon'term
memory, one )itnessed, one taken from the #arent;s #erha#s fre?uently offered verbal
accountAdistortionAdenial of the event9, )hile bein' en=oined to reco'nise and remember only one4
5n a recent article 7;>n kno)in' )hat you are not su##osed to kno), and feelin' )hat you are not
su##osed to feel;9 Bo)lby cites the )ork of Cain and "ast 7$%8,9 )ho studied */ children bet)een
the a'es of * and $*, all of )hom had lost a #arent by #4 $.6 suicide and had become #sychiatrically
disturbed, many of them severely 7Bo)lby $%6694 About one ?uarter had #ersonally )itnessed some
as#ect of a #arent;s death and had been sub=ected to #ressure from the survivin' #arent to believe
that they )ere mistaken in )hat they had seen or heard, and that the death had not been due to
suicide but to illness or accident4 Cases Bo)lby cites include a 'irl )ho discovered her father;s
body han'in' in a closet and )as told he died in a car accident, and t)o brothers )ho found their
mother )ith slit )rists, but )ere told she had died by dro)nin'4 Cain and "ast concluded that many
of the children;s #sychiatric #roblems 7includin' feelin's of unreality9 )ere directly traceable to
e<#eriences of these kinds4
5n one set of studies of the a##earancereality distinction in youn' children, "lavell and his
collea'ues 7"lavell et al4 $%6.9 su''ested that some difficulties e<#erienced in makin' these
distinctions mi'ht be due to ;a s#ecific metaco'nitive limitation, namely, a difficulty in analysing
the nature and source of their own mental representations; 7italics mine94 A recent study by Do#nik
and Draf 7$%669, focused s#ecifically u#on children;s memory for source, su''ested that memory
for the sources of beliefs or information is ac?uired only bet)een . and / years of a'e4 Do#nik and
Draf found that in recallin' an event, most .yearolds )ere unable to distin'uish )hether their
memory came from direct observations, inference, or from havin' been told about it by others, and
their #erformance ty#ically did not im#rove )ith trainin'4 "ouryearolds )ere often initially able to
remember the source of an item of information, but after only a brief delay they for'ot the source F
)hile retainin' the information itself4
-hile memory for #ersonally im#ortant information may be less vulnerable than memory in brief
laboratory e<#eriments to such sur#risin' omission of sourcemarkin', this findin' certainly
su''ests that children under . )ill be more likely than older children to develo# multi#le models in
res#onse to #arental misconstructions, denials, and dece#tions re'ardin' events the child directly
)itnesses4 5f she is not able to mark the source of ;information; to'ether )ith the information itself,
a child under . years )ho directly observes one thin' but is told somethin' else )ill be at the least
e<tremely vulnerable to ;multi#le models; of the same event4
$
(ote in addition that )hereas an
older child mi'ht not only remember the t)o diver'ent items to'ether )ith accurate markin' as to
source, for the older child events )itnessed are also likely to have a 'reater ;truth value; than those
inferred or told4 "or a child )ho does not yet com#rehend the #ossibly counterfactual nature of
information, there is no evidence of a com#arable hierarchy4
Diven that the )ork in co'nitive develo#ment revie)ed here is so recent, it is not sur#risin' that
attachment theorists have tended to em#hasise mental suffering as o##osed to co'nitive factors, as
the #rimary e<#lanation for the early ;defensive e<clusion; of a 'iven idea from further #rocessin'
7as #4 $.% see Peterfreund $%8$E Bo)lby $%6194 !o)ever, )hile the recent )ork revie)ed here
calls for increased attention to the role of co'nitive factors in the develo#ment of multi#le models of
attachment, )e should bear in mind that attem#ts to avoid mental sufferin' can #robably lead to the
same develo#ment as late as adulthood 7)hen, #resumable, neither dualcodin' nor the various
a##earancereality distinctions #resent difficulty94 Particularly #oi'nant e<am#les of e<#eriences of
multi#le models durin' adulthood involve loss of a child or s#ouse4 2hus, for e<am#le, $, of ,1
)ido)s in a 2okyo study re#orted difficulty believin' that their husbands )ere dead : )eeks
follo)in' a road accident4 >ne re#orted that she )ould 'o to the tram)ay sto# at the hour her
husband used to return home from )ork, and another )ould 'o to the door )hen she head a
motorbike, su##osin' it to be her husband;s 70anomoto et al4 $%:%, cited in Bo)lby $%61: $./94
Althou'h individual differences in attachment or'anisation may have #layed some role in the
develo#ment of incom#atible beliefs re'ardin' the s#ouse;s state as both alive and dead, the
difficulty of fully acce#tin' the mental sufferin' attendant u#on a sudden loss is likely to have
#layed the stron'est #art4
A22AC!ME(2&ELA2EC (A&&A25JES: C>!E&E(CE JS4 5(C>!E&E(CE 5( AC+L2
C5SC>+&SE P&EC5C2S SEC+&520 JS4 5(SEC+&520 >" 5("A(2 A22AC!ME(2
2he Berkely Adult Attachment 5ntervie) 7Deor'e et al4 $%6/9 is a structured intervie) re'ardin' an
individual;s early attachment relationshi#s and e<#eriences, and evaluations of the effects of these
e<#eriences on #resent functionin'4 As noted earlier, the coherence of the resultin' narrative has
been found stron'ly linked to external criterion F namely, to the yearold infant;s res#onse to the
structured se#aration and reunion e#isodes of the Ains)orth Stran'e Situation4 2hus, stron'
corres#ondences bet)een adult and infant attachment cate'ories a##ear )hether the adult intervie)
is conducted / years follo)in' the Stran'e Situation 7Main and Dold)yn in #ress9E only a fe)
months follo)in' the Stran'e Situation 7Ains)orth and Eichber' in this volume9E or before the first
child is born 7-ard et al4 $%6%94 5t a##ears therefore that )hen an intervie) focused u#on an
individual;s history is a##roached 7a9 usin' not the individual;s retros#ective account as such, but
rather coherence, cohesiveness and plausibility as the basic forms of analysis, 7b9 hy#otheses can be
constructed re'ardin' the #redicted relation bet)een #articular forms of intervie) res#onse and
infant#arent behaviour #atterns observed in other settin's4 2hese hy#otheses are 7c9 susce#tible to
disconfirmation4
!ere, 5 first describe the Ains)orth Stran'e Situation and the four ma=or infant#arent attachment
cate'ories4 5 ne<t describe the Adult Attachment #4 $*1 5ntervie), the four ma=or ;adult attachment
cate'ories;, and the central forms of intervie) analysis4
he Strange Situation1 infant2parent attachment categories
2he Stran'e Situation is a structured laboratory #rocedure in )hich infants are observed res#ondin'
to t)o brief se#arations from, and reunions )ith, the #arent4 2he #rocedure )as first utilised in
con=unction )ith a yearlon' study of the interactions of a sam#le of ,: Baltimore infants and
mothers 7:161 hours of observation #er dyad94 Stron' relations )ere found bet)een maternal
behaviour in the home and infant res#onse to the laboratory #rocedure 7Ains)orth et al4 $%8694
5nfant res#onses to this situation are cate'orised as follo)s4
Secure (Group !. 2he infant sho)s si'ns of missin' the #arent on de#arture, seeks #ro<imity u#on
reunion, and then returns to #lay4 5n the Baltimore study, this res#onse )as associated )ith maternal
;sensitivity to infant si'nals and communications; 7Ains)orth et al4 $%86E for a revie) of succeedin'
studies see Bretherton $%6/94
"nsecure-avoidant (Group #!. 2he infant sho)s fe) or no si'ns of missin' the #arent, and actively
i'nores and avoids her u#on reunion4 2his #attern )as associated )ith maternal insensitivity to
infant si'nals, and s#ecifically )ith re=ection of attachment behaviour 7Ains)orth et al4 $%86E see
also Main and -eston $%6$94
"nsecure-ambivalent (Group $!. 2he infant is distressed and hi'hly focused on the #arent, but
cannot be settled by the #arent on reunion, often e<#ressin' an'er and seekin' contact in ?uick
succession and 'enerally failin' to return to #lay4 5n Baltimore, this cate'ory )as found associated
)ith maternal insensitivity and un#redictability of maternal res#onsiveness4
"nsecure-disorganised%disoriented (Group &!4 A recent revie) of videota#es of Stran'e Situation
behaviour of many infants considered unclassifiable in the A, B, C system indicated that these
infants in fact e<hibited a diverse array of ;disor'anised andAor disoriented behaviours; such as
free@in' of all movement, or stereoty#es in the #arent;s #resence 7Main and Solomon in #ress94
Parental behaviour associated )ith the ;C; cate'ory is not yet kno)n4 Main and !esse 7in #ress9
hy#othesise that unresolved trauma may lead the #arents to be fri'htened andAor fri'htenin' at
times, )hich )ould #lace the infant in a momentarily irresolvable conflict situation and could lead
to disor'anisedAdisoriented 7;conflict;9 behaviours as outcome4
2o date, the continuin' study of individual differences in infant attachment or'anisation has sho)n
inde#endence of A, B, C, and C cate'ories across #arents and other care'ivers4 2herefore, by ;the
#arents of secure infants; 5 )ill mean only those individual #arents )ith )hom an infant has been
=ud'ed secure4
,
#4 $*$
he !dult !ttachment "nterview
2he Adult Attachment 5ntervie) is a structured, $/?uestion, semiclinical intervie) focusin'
lar'ely u#on an individual;s early attachment e<#eriences and their effects and influences4 2o)ard
the be'innin' of the intervie), the sub=ect is asked to choose five ad=ectives )hich best describe the
relationshi# )ith each #arent durin' childhood4 2he sub=ect is then asked for e#isodic memories
illustratin' each of these choices of ad=ective4 Later, the sub=ect is asked )hat she did )hen u#set
durin' childhoodE to )hich #arent she may have felt closer, and )hyE )hether she ever felt re=ected
or 7later9 threatened by the #arents in any )ayE )hy the #arents may have behaved as they didE ho)
the relationshi# )ith #arents may have chan'ed over timeE and ho) these early e<#eriences
7includin' e<#eriences of ma=or loss u# to the #resent time9 may have affected adult functionin'
and #ersonality4 2he techni?ue has been described as one of attem#tin' to ;sur#rise the
unconscious;7Deor'e et al4 $%6/9, and a ?uick revie) of the intervie) format sho)s that it #rovides
am#le o##ortunities for a s#eaker to contradict, or fail to su##ort, earlier or succeedin' statements4
Ces#ite the fact that many adults have had dis#arate e<#eriences )ith their differin' attachment
fi'ures, a single classification for overall ;state of mind )ith res#ect to attachment; can be reliably
assi'ned to each verbatim intervie) transcri#t 7Main and Dold)yn in #ress94 Jud'ements are made
on the basis of an assessment of the coherence of the transcri#t and other as#ects of #resent state of
mind rather than retros#ective re#orts4 Adults cate'orised as SecureAautonomous )ith res#ect to
attachment ty#ically have infants =ud'ed secure )ith them in the Stran'e SituationE adults =ud'ed
Cismissin' of attachment have avoidant infantsE adults =ud'ed Preoccu#ied by #ast attachments
have ambivalent infantsE and adults =ud'ed +nresolved )ith res#ect to traumatic attachmentrelated
events have disor'anisedAdisoriented infants4 7Jud'ements are of course made blind: see Ains)orth
and Eichber' 7this volume9 for a more com#lete descri#tion of the adult cate'ories49
Because infant Stran'e Situation behaviour is #resumed ultimately reliant u#on #arental behaviour
to)ards the infant in the home situation, the underlyin' association is bet)een the adult;s intervie)
res#onses and the same adult;s behaviour to)ards the infant4 Cro)ell and "eldman 7$%669 tested
this association directly by com#arin' Secure, Cismissin', and Preoccu#ied mothers in interactions
)ith their #reschoolers durin' a toolusin' task4 Secure mothers )ere su##ortive and 'ave clear,
hel#ful assistance4 Cismissin' mothers )ere less )arm: they focused on task com#letion and often
seemed cool and remote4 Mothers in the Preoccu#ied cate'ory #resented the task instructions in a
confusin' and dyssynchronouns manner4 5n kee#in' )ith Ains)orth;s ori'inal descri#tions of the
mothers of Drou# C infants, these mothers )ere un#redictable in their res#onsiveness: #4 $*, at
times )arm and 'entle, they )ere at other times coercive, an'ry, and #u@@led4
"nterviews with the parents of secure infants' (Singular( models of attachment-related events, and
coherence of discourse
5n the ori'inal Bay Area study, the stron'est correlate of infant security of attachment to a 'iven
#arent )as the overall ;coherence; of the #arent;s #resentation of 7his or9 her o)n attachment history4
2he #arents of the $1 very secure 7B.9 infants in this study )ere hi'hly coherent durin' the Adult
Attachment 5ntervie), receivin' a modal score of 6 on the %#oint scale4 2hese #arents focused
easily on the ?uestionsE sho)ed fe) de#artures from usual forms of narrative or discourseE easily
marked the #rinci#les or rationales behind their res#onsesE and struck =ud'es as both collaborative
and truthful4
Both #arents )ho seemed to have e<#erienced insecure or even traumatic childhoods, and #arents
)ho en=oyed lovin' relationshi#s and stable circumstances had secure infants so lon' as they )ere
coherent in describin', discussin', and evaluatin' the effects of their e<#eriences4 2he #arents of
secure infants also 'ave the im#ression of havin' easy access to childhood memories: the modal
score for the $1 #arents of the ;very secure; B. infants on insistence on lack of recall for childhood
)as $ 7% is hi'h94
5n our first Bay Area study, )e identified a coherent transcri#t as one in )hich the =ud'e felt
satisfied that her o)n assessment of the sub=ect;s e<#eriences and their effects )as very close to that
)hich the sub=ect her self #rovided4 As a sim#le e<am#le, if the sub=ect described her #arents as
acce#tin', the =ud'e found no contradictory evidence )ithin the transcri#t, and if the sub=ect
described herself as #resently bein' relatively free of efforts to #lease the #arent, the =ud'e;s internal
analysis of the intervie) led to a'reement4 >ur ori'inal definition of coherence as a##lied to the
intervie) transcri#t )as then close to that recently offered by JohnsonLaird 7$%6.9, )ho su''ests
that a necessary and sufficient condition for discourse to be coherent is that ;it is #ossible to
construct a sin'le mental model from it;4 Coherent sub=ects seemed to be )orkin' )ith a sin'ular
model, )hether of favourable or unfavourable e<#eriences and their effects4
An interest in the Adult Attachment 5ntervie) as discourse has led me to increasin' s#ecification of
the rules for identifyin' coherent transcri#ts in terms of Drice;s ma<ims4 Drice 7$%8/9 formulated a
'eneral, overridin' #rinci#le of coherent conversation called the Coo#erative Princi#le4 Arran'ed
beneath this su#erordinate #rinci#le are the four ma<ims of:
). *uality F be truthful, and have evidence for )hat you say4
+. *uantity F be succinct, and yet com#lete4
#4 $*.
,. -elation F be relevant4
.. Manner F be clear and orderly4
>f these, the ma<im of ?uality is taken as the most im#ortant4
5n the most recent edition of the Adult Attachment scorin' system 7Main and Dold)yn $%6%9 )e
have attended to the above ma<ims in #rovidin' s#ecifications for ratin' ;coherence of transcript;4
-e are, ho)ever, a)are that a s#eaker can remain coherent )hile #referrin' not to ans)er our
?uestions, and, follo)in' Mura 7$%6.9, )e allo) for le'itimate ;licensin'; in violation of these
ma<ims4 "or e<am#le, s#eakers can ;license; refusals to ans)er by sayin' they find a ?uestion too
#ersonal or emotionally difficult )ithout bein' considered to violate the ma<im of ?uantity4 (ote
that this licensin' still a##eals to the hi'her #rinci#le of ;bein' coo#erative; 7Mura $%6.94
"nterviews with the parents of avoidant and ambivalent infants' multiple models of attachment-
related events, and incoherencies
5n our ori'inal Bay Area study, )e found that the #arents of A and C infants )ere relatively
incoherent in their intervie) transcri#ts, e<hibitin' lo'ical and factual contradictionsE inability to
stay )ith the intervie) to#icE contradictions bet)een the 'eneral descri#tors of their relationshi#s
)ith their #arents and actual autobio'ra#hical e#isodes offeredE a##arent inability to access early
memoriesE anomalous chan'es in )ordin' or intrusions into to#icE sli#s of the ton'ueE meta#hor or
rhetoric ina##ro#riate to the discourse conte<tE and inability to focus u#on intervie) ?uestions4 5n
addition, from an internal e<amination of the transcri#t =ud'es seldom a'reed )ith the sub=ects;
descri#tion of their histories andAor their #resent attitudes and evaluations, su''estin' that in hour
lon' intervie) these adults )ere e<hibitin' 7a9 multi#le models of their histories and attitudes )hile
7b9 seemin'ly intendin' to #resent a sin'ular model4
Earlier, )e summarised these transcri#t characteristics of the #arents of A and C infants as
evidencin' difficulties in obtainin' access to attachmentrelated informationE in maintainin'
organisation in attachmentrelated informationE and in #reventin' attachmentrelated information
from under'oin' distortion 7Main and Dold)yn $%6*94 2he most interestin' emer'in' 7in#ro'ress9
findin' a##ear, ho)ever, to be more s#ecific: Parents of infants )ho have been =ud'ed insecure in
differin' )ays 7avoidant, ambivalent, or disor'anisedAdisoriented9 durin' the Stran'e Situation
a##ear to feature differin' ty#es of incoherence of discourse4
Briefly, )e find that the Cismissin' #arents of avoidant infants are usually distin'uished for their
insistence u#on their inability to recall childhood4 Jiolatin' the maxim of /uality 7;5 have evidence
for )hat you say;9, these adults often also seem to ;idealise; their #arents as sho)n in the use of #4
$** e<tremely favourable relationshi# descri#tors )hich are unsu##orted, or actively contradicted,
by autobio'ra#hical memories4
.
E<cessively succinct and conse?uently incom#lete in their
res#onses, their transcri#ts often violate the maxim of /uantity4
As o##osed to #arents of avoidant infants, the Preoccu#ied #arents of ambivalent infants violate the
ma<im of ?uantity throu'h failures to be succinct 7often #roducin' e<tremely lon' intervie)
res#onses9, and violate the ma<im of ?uality in une<#lained oscillations of vie)#oint4 Jiolations of
the maxim of relevance a##ear fre?uently in the form of tan'ential or irrelevant res#onse, in )hich
the s#eaker occasionally a##ears to lose track of the intervie) ?uestion4 "inally, violations of
manner occur in hi'hly entan'led, confusin', runon se?uencesE failures to use #ast markers in
?uotin' conversations )ith the #arentsE ra#id oscillations of vie)#oint )ithin or bet)een sentencesE
unfinished sentencesE insertion of e<tremely 'eneral terms into sentence frames 7;sort of thin';, ;and
this and that;9, and use of nonsense )ords or trailers as sentence endin's 7;dadadadadada;94
0ailures in plausibility and slippages in metacognitive monitoring' the relation between thought
processes regarding loss of attachment figures through death and infant disorganisation
Philoso#hers have traditionally differentiated bet)een t)o theories of truth:
*
a coherence theory of
truth )hich relies u#on consistent internal coreference 7as see &ussell $%*69, and a correspondence
theory to the real state of affairs in the e<ternal )orld 7see Bradley $%//E see also -itt'enstein
$%:$94 "or s#eakers to receive hi'h ratin's for ;coherence of transcri#t;, they must be consistent or
;coherent; in terms of internal coreference4 !o)ever, in order to determine the overall plausibility of
the sub=ect;s remarks F in other )ords, the likelihood of their corres#ondence to the state of affairs
in the e<ternal )orld 7Main and Dold)yn $%6%9 F the =ud'e must be able to ste# outside of the
internal boundaries of the intervie)4 2he recent develo#ment of a scale assessin' #lausibility )as
thou'ht necessary because some s#eakers made statements )hich did not violate any internal
coherence #rinci#le, but )hich seemed to violate our more usual or 'eneral understandin' of
causality and of #hysical la)s4 >ther)ise coo#erative s#eakers )ho make illfounded statements
are no) assi'ned lo) scores for #lausibility or, in our terms, for coherence of mind 7Main and
Dold)yn $%6%94
2he best illustration of the use of this ne) scale is its #o)er to #redict infant #lacement in the ;C;
Stran'e Situation cate'ory4 2he #arent of a disor'anisedAdisoriented infant is not infre?uently a
moderately coherent s#eaker in terms of collaboration and coreference, )ho nonetheless makes
hi'hly im#lausible statements re'ardin' the causes or conse?uences of #4 $*/ traumatic attachment
related events such as loss4 5n these statements, the adult may indicate beliefs in ;ma'ical; causality
surroundin' a death or other trauma, or subtly indicate a belief that a deceased attachment fi'ure is
simultaneously dead and alive4 Such failures in the plausibility of #ortions of the transcri#t 7or,
sli##a'es in the ;metaco'nitive monitorin' of reasonin';, as see Main and !esse in #ress and $%6%9
lead to assi'nment of the adult to the +nresolved adult attachment cate'ory, and to es#ecially lo)
scores for overall coherence of mind 7see Ains)orth and Eichber', this volume, for e<amination of
the relation bet)een adult +nresolved attachment status and infant Cisor'anised attachment status,
and for es#ecially #oi'nant illustrations of such sli##a'es in other)ise )ellfunctionin' adults94
ME2AC>D(525JE B(>-LECDE, ME2AC>D(525JE M>(52>&5(D, A(C 5(C5J5C+AL
C5""E&E(CES 5( A22AC!ME(2 >&DA(5SA25>( C+&5(D C!5LC!>>C
Earlier, )e considered the )ays in )hich difficulties )ith the dualcodin' of sin'le entities and )ith
the a##earancereality distinction could make a youn' child more vulnerable than an older one to
develo#in' ;multi#le models; out of unfavourable attachmentrelated e<#eriences4 !ere )e consider
a second, related, #ro#osal: because of the differin' nature of their e<#eriences, children )ho are
securely vs4 insecurely attached to #rimary attachment fi'ures )ill differ )ith res#ect to both
metaco'nitive kno)led'e and metaco'nitive monitorin'4
5n her ori'inal Baltimore study of infantmother interaction, Ains)orth found that %$,monthold
infants )ho )ould later be =ud'ed secure in the Stran'e Situation )ere distin'uished for use of the
mother as a ;secure base for e<#loration; in the home environment 7Ains)orth et al4 $%8694
Similarly, Main 7$%8., $%6.9 su''ested that secure children are more likely to be able to devote
more attention to e<#loration 7or, more 'enerally, to ;e#istemic activity; see Case $%6/9 than
insecure children, since less attentional monitorin' need to be devoted to the #arent4 2his hy#othesis
received early su##ort )hen children =ud'ed secure vs4 insecure in relation to the mother at $,
months of a'e )ere observed in e<#loratory #lay % months later 7Main $%8., $%6.94 Both the len'th
of solitary #lay bouts, and the intensity 7concentration or undistractability9 of the child;s attention to
her #lay durin' these bouts )ere #ositively related to security of attachment to the mother4 A recent
Derman study com#arin' security of attachment to mother in infancy )ith #reschool behaviour at
a'e / K in Dermany yielded similar outcomes, )ith secure children tendin' to s#end more time in
solitary #lay 7#4 $1$9 and sho)in' far more concentrated F i4e4 undistracted or absorbed F #lay than
insecure children 7Suess et al4 $%6%94
#4 $*:
2he child )ho does not have to monitor the #hysical and #sycholo'ical accessibility of #rimary
attachment fi'ures may indeed have a 'reater attentional 7or )orkin' memory9 ca#acity than other
children 7Main $%8.94 2here are, ho)ever, other reasons to e<#ect metaco'nitive functionin' to
favour secure over insecure children4 2he secure child may also have more e#istemic ;s#ace; in
)hich to revie) her actions, situations, or thinkin' #rocesses because her thinkin' #rocesses are not
com#artmentalised4 2hus, insecurity of attachment may lead to the develo#ment of defensive
thinkin' #rocesses F #rocesses )hich are likely from the first to distort, disor'anise, or limit access
to memories, feelin's, intentions, and reco'nition of o#tions 7Main et al4 $%6/E Main and !esse in
#ress94 Metaco'nitive monitorin' )ill almost certainly be more difficult )hen models are difficult
to access, or )hen information is distorted or disor'anised, and )e should therefore e<#ect more
sli##a'es4 5ndeed, since defensive andAor selfdeceivin' #rocesses are com#artmentalisin' #rocesses
)hich act to se#arate feelin', attention, #erce#tion, and memory, they )ill inherently #lace limits on
metaco'nitive monitorin'4
Securit0 of infant2mother
3
attachment related to self2directed speech in toddlerhood
Perha#s the first e<amination of the relation bet)een security of attachment and an as#ect of
behaviour ultimately related to metaco'nitive monitorin' consisted in an e<amination of
s#ontaneous ;selfdirected; s#eech 'uidin' e<#loratory #lay in the ,$monthold toddlers
#artici#atin' in the doctoral study described above 7Main $%8., $%6.94 As #redicted, selfdirected
s#eech a##eared much more often in secure than in insecure toddles 7Main $%6.9, and )as often
used to 'uide the toddler to the correct means to achievin' some end 7see Jy'otsky $%::94 "or
e<am#le, )hile still seekin' an ob=ect on the couch, one secure child said ;-hereG Co)n there;, then
successfully chan'ed her search strate'y to one of lookin' under the couch rather than on to# of it4
Another said ;(o 'o, try a'ain; as she failed to fit a s?uare sha#e throu'h a round holeE another said
;Put it here; in similar circumstancesE and a third advised herself ;Con;t #eekL;, a##arently tryin' to
#ersuade herself not to 'et ahead of herself in turnin' #a'es of her book too ?uickly4
Spontaneous )metacognitive) remarks made /0 420ear2old children during a Separation
!n5iet0 interview
5n con=unction )ith her doctoral thesis conducted at Berkley, Ba#lan 7$%689 #resented :yearolds
)ith #ictured #arentchild se#arations, en?uirin' )hat the #ictured child )ould feel and do about
the se#aration4 >ne of the central findin's of this study )as the difference in the a##arent #4 $*8
sense of a child;s behavioural o#tions in such situations4 Children )ho had been secure )ith mother
in infancy )ere likely to offer constructive solutions to the #ictured child;s situation, )hile F even if
they had 'iven elaborate detail to their descri#tion of the se#arated child as feelin' lonely or sad F
insecure children tended to say that they didn;t kno) )hat the child could do4
Althou'h no formal e<amination of metaco'nitive functionin' )as undertaken in Ba#lan;s study,
secure children more often s#ontaneously ackno)led'ed e<#eriencin' more than one feelin' at a
time, and sho)ed an a)areness of ho) feelin's mi'ht chan'e de#endin' on the situation, e4'4 ;he
mi'ht be sad if he is left alone, but ha##y if friends are there;4 Secure children also sometimes
ackno)led'ed re#resentational diversity, e4'4 ;5 )as ha##y the first day of school, but this 'irl mi'ht
be sad4 All kids are different;4 "inally, asked if the #ictured child mi'ht feel that he ;didn;t care;,
another secure child res#onded H-ell, )ell, um, if he says he doesn;t care than means he does care;,
differentiatin' bet)een ;)hat is meant and )hat is said; 7Ba#lan #ersonal communicationsE cf4
&obinson et al4 $%6.94
-ailure to comprehend the privac0 of thought in insecure2am/ivalent children at age 4
5n a recently com#leted #ilot study, )e intervie)ed a 'rou# of :yearolds re'ardin' their
understandin' of both the nature and #rivacy of thou'ht4 2he intervie) be'an )ith the ?uestion,
;-hat is thou'htG;4 2he intervie)er then asked )here thou'hts are locatedE )hether the child had a
thou'ht she often thou'ht, and, if so, )hat )as the nature of that thou'htE )hether anyone kne)
)hat she )as thinkin' )hen they could not see or hear herE )hether she kne) )hat anyone else )as
thinkin' in the same circumstances, and )hat thou'hts look like4 5ntervie) res#onses )ere
com#ared )ith the child;s attachment classification )ith mother at : years of a'e, usin' the Main
and Cassidy classification system 7$%6694
>ur s#ecific hy#othesis )as that insecureambivalent children )ould have difficulty in
understandin' the #rivacy of thou'ht4 2his hy#othesis )as derived from already established
connections bet)een the insecureambivalent infant attachment classification and the #arent;s
Preoccu#ation )ith her family of ori'inE sli#s of the ton'ue su''estive of confusion bet)een self
and the #arent durin' the Adult Attachment 5ntervie) in Preoccu#ied #arentsE and tendencies in
these same adults to la#se into the #arent;s voice in recountin' #ast events 7Main and Dold)yn in
#ress94 2o date )e have analysed results for $/ #ilot sub=ects: % secure )ith mother at : years, .
insecureavoidantE and . insecureambivalent4
All of the children )ho )ere secure or avoidant )ith mother 'ave reasonable ans)ers to ?uestions
re'ardin' the nature and #rivacy of thou'ht4 Most children 'ave ade?uate res#onses to the first
?uestion 7)hat #4 $*6 is a thou'ht9, and all located thou'hts in their brains, mind, or heads4 5n
ans)er to )hether they had a thou'ht they often found themselves thinkin', most children 'ave
cursory ans)ers or said no4 Avoidant children )ere restricted in their ans)ers and a##arently in
their interest, )hile the secure children )ere more often thou'htful, fluid, and en'a'ed4 "or
e<am#le, asked for a thou'ht she often found herself thinkin', one secure child said ;7>ften9 5 think,
)hat;s the ans)erG;4 Asked to )hat, she re#lied, ;MuestionsL;4 Another secure child said that it )asn;t
#ossible for #eo#le to kno) the thou'hts of other #eo#le, but that it remained a #ossibility for Dod4
5n kee#in' )ith our hy#othesis, )e found that all three of the insecureambivalent children 7and no
others9 stated that others kne) )hat they )ere thinkin' )hen they could not see them 7;my mom N
she;s #sychic N she kno)s 5;m thinkin' she )ouldn;t be so mean;9, and that they themselves had the
same #o)ers 7;5;m #sychic too;94 2able 64$ #rovides an illustration of the res#onses of three :year
olds, all secure )ith father in infancy, but currently =ud'ed avoidant, secure, or ambivalent )ith
mother4
.hildren)s auto/iographical memor0 at age 67 as related to earl0 and concurrent securit0 of
attachment to the mother
&ecently, )e have been e<aminin' the s#oken autobio'ra#hies of $1 to $$yearold children in
com#arison to both firstyear and concurrent childmother attachment classifications 7attachment
or'anisation at $1 is estimated from a brief laboratory reunion #rocedure, usin' the si<thyear
classification system develo#ed by Main and Cassidy 7$%66994 Children are first asked to s#eak an
autobio'ra#hy for $1 minutes, )ith as little #rom#tin' or interru#tion as #ossible4 After)ards,
children are asked for s#oken descri#tions of their three earliest memoriesE for visualisations of
those memoriesE and )hether they ;see; themselves )ithin the visualisation 7an overvie) of our
#rocedure is #rovided in 2able 64,94
>f the first $, cases informally analysed, % are stable in terms of a##earin' either secure 7B9 or
insecure 7nonB9 )ith mother at both a'e #eriods4 >ur first analyses consist in a rou'h estimate of
the overall coherence of the full transcri#tE the child;s overall a##arent access to com#leteness of
memoriesE #resence or absence of early 7clearly #reschool9 memories of #ersonal e<#erience )ith
accom#anyin' feelin'sE and #resence of a##arent metaco'nitive monitorin' of thinkin' or memory4
"or these first % sub=ects, coherence of transcri#t, access to memories, #resence and ?uality of #re
school memories and metaco'nitive monitorin' a##ear stron'ly related to security of attachment to
the mother4 At this #oint, only the stably secure and insecure children are bein' com#ared4
Considerin' coherence across the transcri#t as a )hole, only . transcri#ts )ere markedly to hi'hly
coherent 7all secure children9, )hile . )ere hi'hly incoherent 7all insecure children94 -ith res#ect
to the first ?uestion, 61 #er cent 7* out of /9 of the secure children but only ,/ #er cent 7$ of the *9
insecure children )ere able to offer a s#oken autobio'ra#hy, all but one
:
of the remainin' children
havin' no a##arent s#ontaneous access to earlier memories4 >ne insecure child described recent
events only, after statin' ;5 don;t remember much from third 'rade and second 'rade;4 Another
attem#ted to be'in her autobio'ra#hy 7at a'e :9, but fell silent after seven lar'ely incom#leted
sentences, her remainin' efforts bein' unsuccessful and marked by lon' #auses4 2he third )as
unable to remember even events of the last month, res#ondin' ;5 can;t remember; to every ?uery4
2he #rom#ted memories she later briefly accessed a##eared confused: for e<am#le, one event )as
first described as centrally concerned )ith her siblin's, but )hen asked to visualise the same event,
she said they )ere not there4
#4 $*%, #4 $/1
1able 2.) Attachment to mother and metaco'nition at :: e<cer#ts from intervie)s re'ardin' the
nature and #rivacy of thou'ht4
a
"nsecure2avoidant with mother at 4 (!8)
3hat is a thought4 5 don;t kno)4 $an you tell me what a thought is4 Somethin' you think4
3here are thoughts4 5n your head4
&o you have a thought you often think4 (o4 (-epeat!. 0es, one4 3hat is that4 +h, cartoons4 3hat
one4 7(ames cartoon character94 &o you often think about (cartoon character!4 0eah4 "s there
anything else that you often think about4 (o4 -ell, sometimes4 Sometimes 5 think about eatin'4
&o other people know what you are thinking when they can(t see you4 (o4 5o4 1hey don(t know
what you(re thinking if they can(t see you4 +hhuh4 6h-huh what4 2hey mi'ht, if they couldn;t see
me, if 5 )as lost, they mi'ht kno) that 5 )as thinkin' that 5 )anted to 'o home4
&o you know what other people are thinking when you can(t see them4 (o (-epeat!. (o4
&o you know what thoughts look like4 5 can;t really describe them4 #re they like movies4 0eah4
Movies, cartoons, 174 0eah4 Cartoons4
"nsecure2unclassified9am/ivalent with mother at 4 (*9.8)
3hat is a thought4 2hat;s easy4 Somethin' you )ant, somethin' you ho#e you 'et, somethin' like
that4
3here are thoughts4 5n the mind4
&o you have a thought that you often think4 Mm hm4 2he thou'ht is 4 4 4 that 5 don;t ever )ant to be
alone4 1hat you don(t want to be alone4 Ever, ever, everL >r that 5 had somethin' )atchin' over me,
and 5;m )atchin' over them4 Someone watching over you4 Somethin'4
&o other people know what you(re thinking when they can(t see you4 Mmhm4 0es4 2hey kno) )hat
5;m thinkin'4 3ho4 Somebody4 5 #romised 5 )on;t tell4 0ou;re 'onna tell my mom4 8ow do they
know4 Easy4 5 think of them and then they think of me4 &o you know what someone else is thinking
when you can(t see them4 0es4 3ho4 5 can;t tell4
&o you know what thoughts look like4 0EA!4 2hey;re bi' and round 7'estures94
Secure with Mother at 4 (:;)
3hat is a thought4 0ou think like, uh, you think like somethin';s 'onna ha##en and you don;t
B(>-4 0ou think but you don;t kno)4
3here are thoughts4 2hou'hts are in your head4
&o you have a thought that you often think4 5 haven;t thou'ht so much4 (-epeat!. 0eah, um,
sometimes 5 think )hat;s ha##enin' )ith my cousins4 Sometimes 5 think 5;ll ask my mom if 5 can 'o
over to my friend;s house maybe4 But 5 don;t B(>- if it;s 'onna ha##en4
&o other people know what you(re thinking when they can(t see you4 (o4 (-epeat!. (o4
&o you know what other people are thinking when you can(t see them4 (o4 Maybe they aren;t even
thinkin'4 1hat(s a possibility9 (:aughs!. 2!A2;S a thou'ht 7'estures, hand e<tended from elbo),
#alm u#94 2hat;s )hat 5 2!>+D!24 2hat they mi'ht not be thinkin'4
&o you know what thoughts look like4 5 don;t kno)4 :ike movies4 Maybe4 3hat else do thoughts
look like4 Like teeny little thin's 7'estures to sho) ho) tiny, closin' thumb and forefin'er9, and
there;s all these teeny little thin's and like those are all the thin's in the )hole, )ide )orld4 All
those tiny thin's you can think of4
1able 2.+ Berkeley Autobio'ra#hical 5ntervie) for $1$,yearolds
a

All three boys )ere secure )ith father in infancy4
$4 5nt4 asks Ch4 to ;tell the story of your life, )hatever you think is most im#ortant to tell, startin'
from as early as you can and 'oin' ri'ht u# to the #resent time4 5;ll kee# ?uiet and =ust listen, and 5;d
like you to talk for ten minutes; 7sho)s clock94 7Prom#ts t)ice if needed for begin as early as you
can, once for remember, start at the beginning and go on forward, . times for keep going to ten
minutes if you can.!
,4 ;(o) 5;m 'oin' to ask you somethin' that may take you a minute tell me the first three thin's
you can remember4; After Ch4 describes all three, 5nt4 asks Ch4 ;to close your eyes and try to see the
thin's you told me about =ust try to look at that time you told me about, and tell me )hat you see;4
After all memories have been described as seen, 5nt4 names each memory and asks )hether Ch4 sa)
herself )hen she looked, or )here she )as4
.4 ;(o) 5;d like you to tell me 7a9 the most im#ortant thin' that you ever did 4 4 4 7b9 the most
im#ortant thin' that ever happened to you4 7c9 -hat )as your favorite thin' that you ever didG
7d9 4 4 4 that ever ha##ened to youG 7e9 -hat did you dislike most that you ever didG 7f9 4 4 4 that ever
ha##ened to youG;
*4 7a9 ;Can you tell me )hat Christmas is usually like )hat )ould be ty#ical over the years for
you and your familyG 7b9 And no) can you tell me )hat ha##ened last ChristmasG 7c9 Can you
remember ho) you felt last ChristmasG;
/4 ;5;m 'oin' to ask you to 'ive me / )ords to describe yourself4; 7Prom#ts hel# Ch4 stay on track49
;(o), could you tell me )hy you chose each of those )ords to describe yourselfG; 75f memories not
s#ontaneously 'iven as Ch4 ends her attem#t, 5nt4 seeks su##ortin' memories a'ain before endin'
intervie)49
5ote: 2his intervie) follo)s an unstructured )armu# #eriod4 2he 5nt4 is friendly, thou'htful, ?uiet,
and res#onsive4 5nt4 makes fe) statements aside from the structured #rom#ts, thankin' Ch4 for her
#artici#ation, or ans)erin' her direct ?uestions4
5n res#onse to our re?uest for ;your three earliest memories;, all / of the secure children #roduced at
least one #reschool memory 7$11 #er cent9, but only , of the * insecure children did so 7/1 #er
cent94 >nly in the case of the secure children did these memories involve #ersonal feelin's and
e<#erience4 >ne secure child, for e<am#le, remembered hel#in' a ne) ste#mother #re#are dinner
for the first time, a memory she reco'nised as #4 $/$ bein' ;not very im#ortant; but )hich to her )as
;real s#ecial;4 Another recalled bein' afraid to enter the Ooo;s ;#et snake; house )ith the rest of her
nurseryschool class, ; ;cause 5 )as scared 4 4 4 and 5 )ent, 5 )ent and started cryin' and stuff;4 Later
she 'ot back in line )ith the rest of the class, and ;nobody seemed to notice;4
S#ontaneous metaco'nitive monitorin' of thinkin' and memory )as observed in . out of the /
secure children, but in none of the insecure children4 "or e<am#le, one secure child introduced his
autobio'ra#hy by statin' that he didn;t remember most of )hat had ha##ened to him, but added that
his #arents had told him a number of thin's4 Asked if he remembered his kinder'arten room he said,
;-ell, sort of, but that;s because 5;ve seen the kinder'arten room a'ain;4 !e became hi'hly en'a'ed
on bein' asked )hether he ;sa); himself as he closed his eyes and ;)atched; scenes from his first
memory:
0eah4 -ait )ait4 Sort of n not really, not e<actly my looks, but 5 am there4
Asked if he could visualise himself in a second memory 7hel#in' his ne) ste#mother #re#are
dinner9, he re#lied:
5 don;t really see like see the #icture of myself, but 5;m ima'inin' myself enterin' the
kitchen 5;m feelin' myself o#enin' the door, but 5;m not 5;m not lookin' at myself4
5;m =ust being myself4
Another secure child ?uestioned the reliability of her memory at times 7;5 don;t kno) if that;s ri'ht,
but that;s the )ay 5 think of it;94 She stated further that she mi'ht have been inaccurate ; ;cause 5
don;t kno) if 5;m sure or not, ;cause 5 have to think of somethin';, im#lyin' early com#rehension of
the fact that memory can be constructive rather than reconstructive 7Bartlett $%.,9, es#ecially )hen
an individual is bein' #ressed4
.#N.$*S"#NS !N( S*''ES"#NS -#R -*R<ER S*("ES
2his brief essay has had several aims4 A first has been to introduce clinicians )orkin' )ith youn'
children to a relatively ne) literature )hich may assist in e<#lainin' the youn' child;s vulnerability
to constructin' conflictin' and incom#atible models of unfavourable relationshi#s and events4
A second aim has been to revie) ne) studies linkin' a #arent;s narrative accounts of her o)n
attachment history to the infant;s behavioural res#onse to her in a mildly stressful situation, i4e4 to
the infant;s attachment classification4 As 5 have indicated, the central feature of the narrative history
#roduced by the #arent of a secure infant is its a##arent truthfulness, identified in terms of 7$9 its
internal coherence and 7,9 its #lausibility4 5n investi'ations still in #ro'ress, the lifenarrative
accounts offered by the #4 $/, #arents of avoidant, ambivalent, and disor'anised infants are
emer'ed as featurin' several distinct ty#es of incoherence andAor im#lausibility4
2hese findin's tie to'ether the retros#ective clinical intervie) 7ty#ically considered the #rovince of
#sychiatry and clinical #sycholo'y9, an emer'in' literature in discourse and co'nitive #sycholo'y,
and the direct observation of behaviour4 Because s#ecific behaviour observations are #redicted to be
tied to s#ecific intervie) analyses, any #articular hy#othesis F e4'4 that a #articular incoherence of
adult narrative )ill be #redictive of a #articular form of infant or adult behaviour F can be
invalidated4 &etros#ective accounts had #reviously been considered im#ermeable to scientific
investi'ation, bein' in essence unfalsifiable4
"inally, our #ilot studies )ith youn' children im#ly considerable concordance bet)een security of
attachment and 7$9 autobio'ra#hical memory, 7,9 reco'nition of the #rivacy of thou'ht, and 7.9 the
metaco'nitive monitorin' of thinkin', memory, and action4 2he links a##earin' bet)een security of
attachment and metaco'nitive functionin' in our #ilot studies are more )ideran'in' than )e had
e<#ected, and may ultimately increase our understandin' of individual differences in the
or'anisation and structure of autobio'ra#hical memory4
S+DDES25>(S ">& "+2+&E S2+C5ES
2he )ork revie)ed above su''ests several future research directions4 Some of the most com#ellin'
can be summarised as follo)s4
). Studies linking individual differences in various aspects of the appearance-reality distinction
with children(s development in terms of attachment. &ecent studies of children;s understandin' of
a##earancereality distinctions indicate considerable variation in individual functionin', )ith some
children fully 'ras#in' a 'iven conce#t at ., )hile others have not yet 'ras#ed it by : 7Astin'tonet
al4 $%6694 2his ran'e is in fact a strikin' as#ect of such studies4 5n li'ht;s 7$%8%9 study of ei'ht
conce#tual #ers#ectivetakin' tasks in *yearolds, for e<am#le, scores )ithin the of ,,4
8
sam#le of
/: children ran'ed from % to .8 7ma<imum P *19 )ith a mean
At this early sta'e in the develo#ment of research in children;s metaco'nitive abilities, relatively
little attention has been #aid to individual differences in functionin', e4'4 to stability of functionin'
for individuals assi'ned a 'iven task, or even to ;synchrony; 7homo'eneity of functionin'9 across
tasks of several ty#es 7but see "lavell et al4 $%6: and Do#nik and Astin'ton $%66 for some
encoura'in' evidence94 5n order to usefully connect children;s attachment or'anisation to children;s
understandin' or a##earancereality distinctions, )e )ould need to make some #ro'ress in
assessin' stability as )ell as ran'e in individual differences4
#4 $/.
Presumin' that sufficiently sensitive tests for individual differences in metaco'nitive functionin'
had already been constructed, )e )ould certainly )ant to conduct concurrent assessments of
attachment status and as#ects of metaco'nitive kno)led'e of metaco'nitive monitorin', as in our
#ilot studies4 2hese are not, ho)ever, the most satisfyin' studies to conduct, because they do not
#ermit us to determine )hether security has #ositively influenced metaco'nitive functionin', or
metaco'nitive functionin' has #ositively influenced security4 5f on the average the youn' child;s
state of relative metaco'nitive deficit does make her more vulnerable to unfavourable attachment
related events, a child )ho is more advanced in metaco'nitive functionin' at a 'iven a'e )ill be
less vulnerable to these events, and hence more likely to remain or even to become secure4 2o the
e<tent that metaco'nitive functionin' develo#s inde#endently of early relationshi#s, then, )e may
e<#ect that relative advancement may enable one child to )eather circumstances )hich )ould make
a second child insecure4
>ne a##roach to this com#le< issue )ould be throu'h lon'itudinal studies )hich test re#eatedly for
the child;s security )ith res#ect to #rimary attachment fi'ures 7assessed at the behavioural level9,
the child;s overall re#resentational models of attachment 7assessed throu'h re#resentational
#roducts such as dra)in's9, and the child;s metaco'nitive abilities and characteristics4 !ere )e
could test not only for any concurrent associations bet)een attachment and metaco'nitive
functionin', but also estimate the e<tent to )hich, e4'4, insecuretosecure chan'e in attachment
or'anisation bet)een $ and $1 7note 89 is related to earlier advancement )ith res#ect to
metaco'nitive functionin'4
+. Studies linking adult memory, reasoning, and epistemic workspace to adult attachment
organisation. As )ould be e<#ected 'iven the hy#othesised connection bet)een security of
attachment and a relatively )ideran'in' ca#acity for attentional monitorin' 7Main $%8.9, Mary
Ains)orth has su''ested that security in adulthood may be associated )ith the ability to
simultaneously attend to several tasks 7#ersonal communication, (ovember $%6%94
6
5n addition, a
recent informal revie) of Adult Attachment 5ntervie) transcri#ts su''ests to me that the #arents of
secure infants have ado#ted a more thorou'hly constructivist vie) of their o)n kno)led'ebase
than have less secure adults 7see Chandler $%66 for a discussion of the a##earancereality
distinction in its most com#lete or adult form94
2hese informal observations further underscore the #ossibility that, at least in some situations, there
may be a some)hat 'reater #rocessin' ca#acity in )orkin' memory 7or in shortterm stora'e s#ace,
see Case $%6/9 in more secure individuals and that these same individuals may o#erate )ith
some)hat more so#histicated theories of kno)led'e4 2hese #ro#ositions could be directly tested,
and the 'eneral relations amon' attachment, #4 $/* )orkin' memory ca#acity, and abstract
reasonin'
%
could be estimated4 "inally F usin', for e<am#le, Bartlett;s schemas or &umelhart;s story
'rammars F it )ould seem interestin', if obvious, to conduct assessments of memory and reasonin'
in both standard and attachmentrelated forms4
Q $%%$ Mary Main
ACB(>-LECDEME(2S
(ancy Ba#lan directed the #ilot studies described here4 Mclinda 2ravis conducted most of the child
intervie)s, and Esther Chou assessed child#arent reunions4 5 am 'rateful to 5n'e Bretherton and
&obbie Case for introducin' me to #arts of the literature revie)ed here, to -anda Bronson and
Mary Ains)orth for criticism of earlier editions of this manuscri#t, and to Erik !esse for several
contributions to its content4
(>2ES
$ Conceivably, obtainin' contradictory information re'ardin' an event 7observedAheard9 at very
early a'es could lead to mutual cancellin' of the items of information, so that only if ;)hat )as
heard 7A9; and ;)hat )as observed 7B9; )ere a'ain connected could either event be accessed 7A can
be activated only if B is activated, and vice versa94 2his kind of deadlock or ;malfunctionin'
loo#;7JohnsonLaird $%6.9 may of course lead to mental #atholo'ies and may be of s#ecial interest
to clinicians4
JohnsonLaird su''ests that consciousness may be needed to unlock such mental difficulties, but
ho) could consciousness resurrect a deadlock such as this if stored in a very early memoryG Stern
7$%6/9 su''ests that the #atient;s clinically discovered narrative metaphor may #rovide the key to
troubled early memories )hich cannot be directly accessed4 (ote that meta#hor could have a
structurally correct relation to the ori'inal e<#eriences, and in this sense serve as an accessin'
;mental model;4 "ormal lo'ic )ould be of little hel# in unlockin' this kind of #atholo'ical loo#4
, 5n fre?uently )ritin' as thou'h attachment or'anisation )ere stable, 5 #resume that the reader is
familiar )ith the #rinci#le that it is e<#ected to be relatively stable only )here an individual, dyad,
or family does not under'o ma=or chan'es in life circumstances 7see Bretherton $%6/ for a revie)94
. 2he Adult Attachment Classification system is more com#le< than the infant system, and #roduces
more subcate'ories4 !ere 5 necessarily overlook a number of com#le<ities4 2he #arents of A infants
occasionally have, e4'4, 'ood memories for childhood and are not idealisin' but rather dero'atin'
and dismissin' of #arents, a strate'y )hich may function e?ually )ell to kee# attachmentrelated
memories and intentions at a distance4
* A third, lesstraditional theory F the pragmatic theory of truth usually associated )ith the )ork of
C4S4 Pierce and -illam James F is not discussed here4
/ 5n the studies revie)ed in this section, the reader )ill note that attachment security has been
assessed in relation to the mother rather than the father4 2his is because fathers in both the Bay Area
and South Derman sam#les ty#ically )orked fulltime throu'hout the infant;s first year )hile
mothers s#ent at most only ,* hours #er )eek a)ay from the infant4 2he infant therefore
#resumably interacted more )ith the mother than the father, and is #resumed likely to have taken
the mother as its #rimary attachment fi'ure4
#4 $//
2)o studies to date have endeavoured to com#are the influence of infantmother vs4 infantfather
attachment u#on various as#ects of functionin' at / to : years of a'eE both have sho)n 'reater
#redictability from early infantmother than from early infantfather attachment 7Main et al4 $%6/E
Suess, Drossman, and Sroufe, submitted ms49 2hese outcomes )ould not necessarily be e<#ected in
sam#les in )hich father served as the #rimary care'iver4 As it stands, they may be modified as the
child develo#s to)ards #uberty, and may ultimately differ by se< of child4
: >ne secure child started an autobio'ra#hy, but after raisin' the to#ic of missin' her friends from
early childhood she remained )ith current to#ics and )as not #rom#ted to be'in a'ain4
8 5n Li'ht;s 7$%8%9 study, children;s scores )ere related to the )ay the mother described herself as
#erceivin' and treatin' her child, )ith mothers of hi'h scorers a##earin' as much concerned )ith a
child;s feelin's and intentions as his actual behaviour4
6 5n a recent selfre#ort ?uestionnaire administered to $8* colle'e students 7Main, !esse, and
-aters, un#ublished data9, selfre#orted difficulty )ith dividin' attention amon' several
simultaneous tasks )as found associated )ith lack of memory for childhood, )ith descri#tions of
the sub=ect;s mother as unfor'ivin', and )ith uncertainty that the sub=ect could turn to one or both
#arents in times of trouble4
% JohnsonLaird 7$%6.: $,$9 re#orts a substantial relation bet)een a sim#le measure of the
#rocessin' ca#acity of )orkin' memory devised )ith Jane >akhill and accuracy in syllo'istic
reasonin'4 5t )ould be relatively easy for researchers in adult attachment to em#loy these or similar
assessments in con=unction )ith their o)n on'oin' studies4
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Ba#lan, (4 and Main, M4 7$%6%9 ;A system for the analysis of family dra)in's;, +n#ublished
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