Attachment Sondra Parmer Jessica Stroud Mary Ann Taylor Sims FOUN 7410 Fall 2004
What is Ethology? • Crain states that it is the study of animal and human behavior within an evolutionary context.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) • Born into a very distinguished English family • No great aspects for his future as a child • Studied medicine • Changed to study for the Anglican clergy at Cambridge • Recommended for the H.M.S. Beagle voyage • Studied fossils to lead to his theory of evolution • Published theory 20 years after it was formulated • 1858 he and Wallace presented their theory together
Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection Among the members of a species, there is endless variation; and among the various members, only a fraction of those who are born survive to reproduce. Over time nature ‘selects’ those who can best adapt to their surroundings - hence the term ‘natural selection’.
Class Discussion • How does one’s social behavior aid in Darwin’s theory of natural selection or evolution? • What part does Reasoning play in evolution? • How does the embryological findings fit in with the theory of evolution?
Methodological Approach • Understanding behavior only through a natural setting. • Step one: get to know the species - “naturalistic observation” • Only after step one is completed can experiments begin to test their ideas to formulate laws
Instinctive Behavior • Instinct is something that is released by a specific external stimulus • Examples… • Species-specific • Fixed action patterns • Different from other unlearned behaviors
Imprinting What is imprinting? When and how does it occur? Fly Away Home clip
Imprinting • Determines the following response in the young • And social behavior in young • Can affect later sexual preferences • Begins with inner maturational prompting • Ends with the onset of fear response
Adaptive Value of Imprinting • Has evolved as a strong attachment mechanism for groups of animals to escape the pressure of predators • Examples? • Why is it necessary?
John Bowlby (1907-1990) Evolutionary perspective: children must have attachment behaviors in order to stay close to adults for protection and survival Attachment Behaviors: - Baby’s Cry - Grasping - Baby’s Smile - Sucking - Babbling - Following
Phase 1 (birth to 3 months): Indiscriminate Responsiveness to Humans • Respond equally to all people • Preference for faces • Social smiles (approx. 6 weeks old) • Smile acts as a releaser for caregiver to promote love and care • Crying • Promotes proximately between baby and caregiver • Baby’s holding on • Grasp reflex • Moro reflex • Rooting and sucking reflexes
Phase 2 (3 to 6 months):Focusing on Familiar People • Social responses become focused on familiar people • Restrict smiles • Selective babbling • Comfort provided by preferred individual(s) • Baby is beginning to form attachments to one to three key figures • One person tends to emerge as primary attachment figure
Phase 3 (6 months to 3 years): Intense Attachment and Active Proximity-Seeking • Attachment becomes exclusive to one person • Fear of strangers • Actively follow – desire to maintain contact with parent • Use parent as a secure base from which to explore • Mother-child interaction defines relationship
Phase 4 (3 years to the end of childhood): Partnership Behavior • Child more likely to consider parent’s plans and goals – more of a partner in relationship • Little is understood about this phase • Adolescents break free from attachments; adults are independent; seniors become increasingly dependent • Fear of being alone – biological reasons
Imprinting in Animals Young animals follow moving objects Begin following many moving objects Narrow to following one moving object Fear response limits ability to form new attachments Attachment in Humans Infancy: social responses directed at many Attempt to stay physically close to others 6 months: begin to narrow social responses Become afraid of strangers Will follow principal attachment figure Is attachment the same as imprinting?
Effects of Institutional Care • Institutional Deprivation • Children lacking sufficient care in the first year of life • Does “failure to imprint” occur? • Stories from Romania • Separation – Stages • Protest • Despair • Detachment
Mary D. S. Ainsworth (1903-1999) • 40-year collaboration with Bowlby • Infancy in Uganda • Naturalistic observation • Observed different patterns of attachment • Baltimore study – 23 mother-child dyads • 1st year – home observations • 2nd year – lab observations
The Strange Situation • Research methodology • Includes 2 brief separations (3 minutes each) between mother and child • First separation – friendly stranger • Second separation – left alone • Three patterns observed
Securely Attached Infants • Use mother as base from which to explore • Mother leaves and child becomes upset • Mother returns and child actively greets and remains close for a few minutes • Once reassured, child begins to explore again • Findings correlate to sensitive behavior from mother at home visits during baby’s first year • 65% - 70% of 1-year-olds in US who have participated in the strange situation
Insecure-Avoidant Infants • Appear independent during the Strange Situation • Explore, but do not use mother as secure base – ignore her • Do not become upset when mother leaves the room • Do not seek physical closeness to mother when she returns • Attempt to avoid mother if picked up upon mother’s return • Findings correlate to insensitive behavior from mother at home visits during baby’s first year • 20% of 1-year-olds in US who have participated in the strange situation
Insecure-Ambivalent Infants • Clingy infants who explore very little • Extremely upset when mother leaves the room • Noticeably ambivalent toward mother upon her return • Findings correlate to inconsistent behavior from mother at home visits during baby’s first year • 10% - 15% of 1-year-olds in US who have participated in the strange situation
Attachment • Follow-up studies have supported the existence of these 3 behavior patterns • Children classified as securely attached exhibit the healthiest pattern of development (e.g., persistence, self-reliance, friendliness, leadership) • Correlation of maternal sensitivity to child outcome supports ethologist perspective
Attachment Evaluation of Adults • Main developed Adult Attachment Interview to measure attachment and parenting behaviors • Secure/autonomous speakers – speak openly and freely about childhood relationships, tend to have securely attached children • Dismissing of attachment speakers – own attachment experiences are unimportant, tend to have insecure-avoidant children • Preoccupied speakers – continue to struggle to win parents’ love, tend to have insecure-ambivalent children • Correlations found between inventories with adults prenatally and when baby is 1 year old
Can you spoil the child by giving him too much attention? • Bowlby and Ainsworth say NO! • Babies have built-in biological signals used to evoke responses that meet their needs for survival. • Ainsworth’s research shows that children are most well adapted when parents respond promptly and sensitively to the child’s needs • Cues must be taken from the child – not parent-directed
What practical applications and changes have we seen as a result of research in attachment? • Change in care in institutions where children are raised • Rooming-in in hospitals following birth of child • Day care • “Quality” time in families
Infant-Mother AttachmentDiessner and Tiegs • Comparison of infant strange situation behavior with maternal home behavior • The findings to this study raise the concerning issues of the direction of effects of attachment • To what extent is is attributable to the mother’s behavior throughout the first year of life and to what extent is it attributable to built-in differences in potential and temperament?
How are these issues associated or affected by infant-mother attachment? • Contexts of Mother-Infant Interaction • Practical Implications for Intervention • Using the Mother as a Secure Base from which to Explore • Response to Separation from Attachment Figure • Other Attachment Figure • Consequences of Attachment
Autism vs. Symbiotic Psychosis • Characteristics of Autism (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, DSM-IV) • Onset prior to age 3 • Marked impairment in social interaction • Marked impairment in communication • Repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities • Characteristics of Symbiotic Psychosis • Occurs around age 3 or 4 • Progress through symbiotic phase • Ruptured sense oneness with mother • Lack of comfort and support • May regress to autistic state
Phases of Normal Development: Birth – 3 Years • Normal Autistic Phase: Birth – 1 month • Normal Symbiotic Phase: 1 – 5 months
Separation and Individuation Subphases • Differentiation: 5 – 9 months • Practicing: 9 – 15 months • Early Practicing: 9 – 12 months • Practicing: 12 – 15 months • Rapprochement: 15 – 24 months • Consolidation and Object Constancy: 24 – 36 months
Practical Applications • Therapy • Did not experience normal symbiotic phase • Do not need encouragement to separate but to building secure foundation of mutuality and trust
Criticisms of Mahler’s Work • Perceptual and cognitive capacities do exist in newborns • Stern • View of early development as pathological • Bowlby (video clip) • Development does not occur in a lock-step fashion • Early fixation does not lead to adult psychopathology • Empirical research