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Messinger1 Introduction to Attachment PSY344. Messinger2 Attachment defined n What are the levels of attachment organization? n How does attachment work.

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Presentation on theme: "Messinger1 Introduction to Attachment PSY344. Messinger2 Attachment defined n What are the levels of attachment organization? n How does attachment work."— Presentation transcript:

1 Messinger1 Introduction to Attachment PSY344

2 Messinger2 Attachment defined n What are the levels of attachment organization? n How does attachment work and what are its evolutionary functions? n What is the difference between attachment behaviors, the attachment system, and the attachment bond? n What are key attachment concepts and what evidence is there that monkeys evidence these concepts (review Harlow film) n What is the difference between being attached and being securely attached? n What is an attachment disorder and what is evidence of an attachment disorder? n Is child-caregiver attachment the whole relationship or is one (organizing) system in the relationship?

3 Messinger3 Attachment defined n What are the developmental stages of attachment? n What are the evolutionary functions of attachment? n Describe the attachment system. n What are key attachment concepts and what evidence is there that monkeys evidence these concepts (review Harlow film)?

4 Messinger4 Attachment’s Function/Goal: Keeping Caregivers Close

5 Messinger5 Environment of evolutionary adaptiveness Protection from predators and... conspecifics

6 Messinger6 Attachment is not bonding n 1 st hour of life is not a “sensitive period” – In which skin-to-skin contact is necessary n Early contact is not an innoculation – It helps early interaction, not later interaction n But the bonding hypothesis has improved contact between infant and parent right after birth (perinatally)

7 Parent motivations n In nonhuman primates, … first few days postpartum are a sensitive period when primate mothers are highly attracted to infants, motivated to care of them – But bonding may occur later n Is there mother-infant bonding in primates? Maestripieri, Dario.Developmental Review. 21, 2001, Maestripieri, Dario Messinger7

8 8 Introduction to Attachment PSY344

9 Introduction to Attachment Messinger9 Christine Sinicrope

10 Messinger10 Attachment Development Stages n 1st, indiscriminate, 0-2 months – Whatever obtains/promotes proximity n Both crying and smiling. – But is there research showing that this is the case? n 2nd, discrimination, 2-7 months – Discrimination of figures/signals n 3rd, 7-24 months, classic attachment stage. – Using locomotion to attain/maintain proximity. n Secure base phenomenon. n 4th, goal-corrected partnership, 2 years  – language

11 Stages of Social Development n Phase 1: Newborn Indiscriminate Social Responsiveness (1 to 2 Months) n Phase 2: Discriminating Sociability (2 to 7 Months) n Phase 3: Attachments (7 to 24 Months) n Phase 4: Goal-Corrected Partnerships (Year 3 Onward)

12 Behavior Systems n The attachment system. – Attaining and maintaining proximity to caregivers. n The fear/wariness system. – Coordinates avoidant, wary, or fearful responses to strangers. n The affiliative system. – Social behaviors and interactions. n Exploratory system. – Engagement in physical environment.

13 Messinger13 Fear of strangers n 6 – 10 months n Less robust than attachment n Is it a byproduct of discrimination of attachment to primary caregiver? n Currently under-researched – Few psychlit hits

14 Messinger14 Levels of attachment organization n Attachment behaviors - Promote proximity (function/goal) n Attachment system - Organization of behaviors to achieve goal n Attachment bond - Child’s affectional tie

15 Messinger15 Attachment behaviors n Proximity n Contact maintenance

16 Messinger16 Attachment system n Inherent motivation n Organization of different behaviors – Doesn’t matter how you get to caregiver n With single function n In a goal-corrected manner n Attachment as an organizational construct

17 Messinger17 Attachment bond n Felt bond between mother and child n Balance between exploration & proximity n Child’s working model of mother n Based on perceived accessibility and responsivity of mother

18 Messinger18 Multiple attachments n Infants form attachments to many caregivers n A hierarchy is assumed – In which infant turns first to primary caregiver n Role of fathers

19 Messinger19 Attachment motivates behaviors through feelings n Forming attachment n Maintaining attachment n Threat of loss n Actual loss n Falling in love n Loving someone (joy) n Anxiety n Sorrow/mourning

20 Messinger20 Intellectual History n Old dominant theory: – Affection/attachment to mother originate because mother is the source of food n Two versions – Behaviorist: Contact becomes conditioned reinforcer because it is paired with food, an unconditioned reinforcer – Learning theory: Primary drive toward food (oral) becomes secondary drive toward contact n Harlow says this is wrong – Harlow movie:

21 Messinger21 Why monkey research? n Impressive if limited physical capacity at birth n Rapid but trackable development n Development occurs through extensive social contact with mother and age-mates

22 Messinger22 Soft Contact Vs. Nutrition n 8 newborn monkeys n Nutrition – Bare wire surrogate – delivers scheduled feedings for half of monkeys n Soft Contact – Terry-cloth covered surrogate – delivers scheduled feedings for half of monkeys n Harlow Movie:

23 Messinger23 Key Attachment Concepts n Presence of attachment relationship – Contact with attachment figure – Retreat to attachment figure when afraid – Become less afraid n Security of attachment – Use attachment figure as secure base from which to explore n Critical periods for development of attachment

24 Messinger24 Time is spent on cloth mothers n Both wire and cloth fed spend most of their time on cloth surrogate mother – Regardless of which “mother” fed you

25 Messinger25 How this is done

26 Messinger26 Minimal feeding effect

27 Messinger27 Soft Contact Preference Retained n Response retained months after infants are separated from surrogate mother and raised alone

28 Messinger28 Fear Response Directed to Cloth n When responding to an unfamiliar object or an open field, the majority of fear responses were directed toward the cloth surrogate mother (Fig. 13, H. ‘59).

29 Messinger29 What happens when you get there n They show less fear when surrogate is there than when surrogate is absent (Fig 14 [H&Z, ‘59])

30 Messinger30 Lower fear for cloth mothered n Fearful situations generate lower increase in fear for infants who had a cloth surrogate than for other infants [H&Z, ‘59])

31 Messinger31 More fear without cloth surrogate

32 Messinger32 Secure Base n Secure attachment to surrogate allows for exploration of feared situation

33 Messinger33 Critical Periods n After 250 days of being normally raised, monkeys with dual surrogates spend more time on cloth mother but do not retreat to her when faced with scary stimulus. – 1 of 2 attachment criteria

34 Messinger34 Factors Influencing Attachment n Contact with soft surrogate was sufficient for development of attachment that served to reduce fear responses – The role of nutrition source was at best subordinate to that of soft contact – Cloth mother that feeds is preferred to cloth mother that does not feed until 110 days (Fig. 16)

35 Messinger35 Key Attachment Concepts n Contact with attachment figure n Retreat to attachment figure when afraid n Become less afraid n Use attachment figure as secure base from which to explore

36 Messinger36 Attachment makes social contact a psychological reality n You carry feelings of being with other inside you

37 Messinger37 Key Attachment Concepts n Presence of attachment relationship – Contact with attachment figure – Retreat to attachment figure when afraid – Become less afraid n Security of attachment – Use attachment figure as secure base from which to explore n Critical periods for development of attachment

38 Messinger38 Difference n Presence of attachment is usually a biological given – almost all infants attached n Security of attachment is an individual difference – 2/3 of infants securely attached, 1/3 anxiously attached (some avoidant, some resistant)

39 Individual differences in attachment security (and disorganization) n er/c_c/Infancy/sessions/attach_codes.ppt er/c_c/Infancy/sessions/attach_codes.ppt Messinger39

40 Messinger40 Usage n Do not ‘more’ or ‘less’ attached – That is probably incorrect n More or less securely attached is probably correct n Attachment disorders are a rare exception

41 Messinger41 Attachment disorders: Romanian adoptees

42 Messinger42 Exposure to institutional rearing  disinhibited attachment disturbance n Disturbance (from interview) means – Lack of differentiation among adults; – Clear indication that child would readily go off with a stranger; – Lack of checking back w parent in anxiety-provoking situations. Rutter, M. and T. G. O'Connor (2004). "Are There Biological Programming Effects for Psychological Development? Findings From a Study of Romanian Adoptees." Developmental Psychology 40(1): < 18 months: 16% (13/84) months: 33% (15/45) Stable & little decrease 2-years.

43 Messinger43 n Close association between duration of deprivation and severity of attachment disorder behaviors. n Marked stability in individual differences in attachment disorder behaviors and little evidence of a mean decrease over this 2-yr period. O'Connor, T. G. and M. Rutter (2000). "Attachment disorder behavior following early severe deprivation: Extension and longitudinal follow-up." Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 39(6):

44 Messinger44 Romanian adoptees: Odd behaviors n Institutionally reared at UK arrival, – 47% children rocked, 24% self-injurious behavior, 11% displayed unusual sensory interests – At 6 years, 18%,13%, and 13%, respectively. n Length of time spent in institutional deprivation was primary factor affecting prevalence & persistence of behaviors. Beckett, C., D. Bredenkamp, et al. (2002). "Behavior patterns associated with institutional deprivation: A study of children adopted from Romania." Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 23(5): ‘Children aged between a few weeks and 43 months who were adopted from institutional care.’

45 Messinger45 Is attachment the whole relationship? n Different behavioral systems – Attachment – Fear/wariness – Exploratory – Affiliative

46 Messinger46 Attachment: Narrow versus broad view n Attachment is one of several affective bonds between infant and caregiver – Play, affiliation, friendship might be other types of bonds n e.g., Harlow

47 Messinger47 Bowlby says n “A child seeks his attachment figure when he is tired, hungry, ill, or alarmed and also when he is uncertain as to that figure's whereabouts... By contrast, a child seeks a playmate when he is in good spirits and confident of the whereabouts of his attachment figure... The roles of attachment figure and playmate are distinct... [though] it is possible for any one figure at different times to fill both roles.” (Bowlby, 1969, p. 307)

48 Messinger48 Attachment & quality of social play n Caregivers occupy many roles vis-à-vis the child: playmate, discipliner, as well as attachment figures n Attachment theory is not clear as to whether the concepts are distinguishable and what type of association is to be expected.

49 Messinger49 But Bowlby also says n Attachment develops through any type of social interaction that puts infant in proximity of caregiver. and n “The more experience of social interaction an infant has with a person [as attachment figure or playmate] the stronger his attachment to that person becomes" (Bowlby, 1982, p. 222).

50 Current MLS results Messinger50

51 Messinger51 Beyond Attachment in monkeys n What type of social contact is sufficient for normative social development? – Cloth surrogate? Mother? Peers? n Normative social development involves functioning in different social roles – Play/interaction roles – Romantic/sexual roles – Parenting roles

52 Messinger52 Cloth Surrogate Not Enough n When monkeys placed with peers as adults, they show reduced levels of – Play n little/no interaction or attack – Sexual behavior n ineffective posturing and actions for both sexes – Parenting behavior n Neglectful (refuses nursing)

53 Messinger53 Cloth Surrogate Minuses n Surrogate mother cannot hold, interact with, discipline, or encourage infant’s exploration. n Reflexes to clasp and to suck are not counterbalanced by exploration and interaction.

54 Messinger54 Are Mothers Enough? n Infants raised by mothers but without peers for seven months, subsequently show reduced exploration of the physical environment and very little play.

55 Messinger55 How normative monkey development works n Time with mother decreases as, – encouraged by mother, n infants explore objects and n play with peers. n Peer play becomes increasingly aggressive and sexualized leading to more mature social/sexual behavior.

56 Messinger56 Cloth Surrogate and One Peer Experiment n 3 groups reared for 180 days with – No surrogate, no peer – Surrogate, no peer – Surrogate, peer n After brief separation, tested with peer and mother

57 Messinger57 Surrogate/Peer Group n Plays more with peer – (Fig. 19) n Plays more around mother surrogate – (Fig. 20) n Perhaps surrogate provided some degree of security and peer provided some degree of social interaction/stimulation.

58 Messinger58 Are Peers Enough? n Infants raised with common infant play area – 4 have mother in cage, 4 have cloth surrogate n First year, mother-raised infants show more advanced play n Second year, differences “have all but disappeared” n Play is more normal when they are allowed to play in more stimulating physical environment.


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