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Chapter 14 Attachment and Social Relationships

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1 Chapter 14 Attachment and Social Relationships

2 Attachment The case of “Baby Jessica” Children are resilient Negative early experiences rarely ruin them for life Close relationships provide Learning experiences Social support (social convoy)

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 Figure 14.2 Ethologist Konrad Lorenz demonstrated that goslings would become imprinted to him rather than to their mother if he was the first moving object they encountered during their critical period for imprinting. Human attachment is a bit more complex. Figure 14.2

6 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

7 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

8 Figure 14. 1 The emergence of different emotions
Figure The emergence of different emotions. Primary emotions emerge in the first six months of life, secondary or self-conscious emotions emerge starting about 18 months to 2 years of age. Figure 14.1

9 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

10 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

11 Attachment-Related Fears
Separation anxiety: 6-8 mo Peaks around mo Gradually wanes Stranger anxiety: 8-10 mo Declines during 2nd yr Ainsworth: secure base for exploration


13 Quality of Attachment 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


15 Infant Characteristics
Must acquire person permanence Temperament a factor Reaction to parenting style *Goodness of fit

16 Context of Attachment Culture Individualistic: encourage independence e.g., Japan resistant Collectivist: encourage group conformity e.g., Western avoidant

17 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

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Outcomes Securely attached child Cognitively and socially competent Expect positive reactions Insecurely attached child Withdrawn, dependent, fearful Less competent Patterns last through adolescence

19 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

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

21 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

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

23 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

24 Figure Stages in the evolution of the peer group during adolescence, from same-sex cliques (bottom) to dating couples (top). Figure 14.6

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


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