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Chapter 14 Attachment and Social Relationships

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1 Chapter 14 Attachment and Social Relationships

2 Attachment Attachment is defined as “a close emotional bond between an infant and a caregiver” Close relationships provide Learning experiences Social support

3 Attachment Theory Bowlby: A strong affectional tie that binds a person to an intimate companion Helps regulate distress by proximity seeking By about 6-7 months Ainsworth: special, irreplaceable people Desire to maintain proximity Derive a sense of security Bowlby: normal environment important

4 Ethology Konrad Lorenz: Imprinting Critical period Irreversible
Humans: Attachment Sensitive period Predisposed

5 Major Studies on Attachment
Harry Harlow Direct criticism of Freud Wire monkey Cloth monkey Contact comfort is key

6 Mary Ainsworth “Strange Situation”
Separation anxiety: 6-8 mo Peaks around mo Gradually wanes Stranger anxiety: 8-10 mo Declines during 2nd yr

7 Ainsworth’s studies 4 different types of attachment Secure attachment Insecure avoidant attachment Insecure resistant attachment Insecure disorganized attachment


9 Caregiver provides “contact comfort”
Ainsworth: Strange Situation Test Secure attachment: most Insecure attachment categories Inconsistent care > resistant Insensitive stimulation > avoidant Rejection, impatient, resentful Intrusive Abusive > disorganized/disoriented

10 Effects of Social Deprivation
Infants grieve when separated from caregiver Recover when reunited or upon forming new attachments A series of separations more harmful Romanian orphans Insecure, anxious Difficulty coping with stress Need sustained interaction with responsive caregivers – one or a few Reactive Attachment Disorder

11 Later Outcomes Securely attached child Cognitively and socially competent Expect positive reactions Insecurely attached child Withdrawn, dependent, fearful Less competent Patterns last through adolescence

12 Conclusions Attachment to fathers, grandparents, etc. Can compensate for poor attachment Secure attachments may change Stressful events: divorce, illness Insecure attachments may change Lifestyle improvements Later relationships influenced by nature of early attachment

13 Childhood Peers Important for social development Piaget: equal power among peers Requires cooperation, negotiation skills Sullivan: Peers important after age 6 Changing interpersonal needs Harris: Parental influence is overrated Peers more important for development

14 Emotions in Infancy Timing of emotions biologically programmed Tied to cognitive maturation Evolved to ensure that caregivers respond Social referencing by months monitor reactions in others to help define situation, regulate behavior and emotions Modeling, imitation, reinforcement

15 Caregiver’s Attachment to Infant
Early contact not crucial nor sufficient Neonatal reflexes endearing: e.g., smiling Cooing and babbling: early conversations Synchronized routines Peek-A-Boo Sensitive responding a must Over-stimulation/under-stimulation

16 Infant’s Attachment to Caregiver
Social responsiveness At birth: undiscriminating 2-6 mo: preferences develop Proximity seeking 6 mo to 3 yr Attachment figures Mental representation abilities needed

17 Peer Relations 18 mo: first peers Turn taking Reciprocal play Age 2-12: increasing time spent Same sex peers Similar age and play preferences

18 Play Age 1-2: Pretend play Age 2-5: Social play Age 5-6: Rule-based games By age 11-2: Rule flexibility Play is beneficial Cognitive development Social skills

19 Peer Acceptance Sociometric techniques Most popular kids Attractive, intelligent Socially competent Rejected kids Highly aggressive Socially isolated, overly sensitive, submissive

20 Adolescents Parents still important Boy-girl friendships and dates Dating: Dunphy’s phases Initiation; Status; Affection; Bonding Friendships: More intimacy Friends similar psychologically Cliques and crowds Increased conformity

21 The Adult Social networks shrink Closer to family Romantic attachments Adult friendships valued Important to have one confidant

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