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Attachment Behaviours In Development? Essay, Research Paper

Many theoreticians agree that societal contact early in a kid & # 8217 ; s life is of import for healthy personality development. This is the most of import relationship of the kid development period as it is from this that the kid drives its assurance in the universe. A interruption from this relationship is experienced as extremely straitening and constitutes a considerable injury ( Schaffer 1964 ) . Through frequent societal and emotional exchanges with parents the baby non merely defines itself, but besides acquires a peculiar manner and orientation that some research workers believe is carried over into ulterior life ( Sroufe 1978 ) . Therefore, the relationship between an baby and its health professional and its development is one that has generated much involvement to developmental psychologists. John Bowlby ( 1958, 1968 ) put frontward a comprehensive history of fond regard and believed that the baby and female parent instinctively trigger each other & # 8217 ; s behavior to organize an attachment bond. Attachment can hence be defined as & # 8216 ; the ability to organize focussed, lasting and emotionally meaningful relationships with specific others & # 8217 ; ( Butterworth & A ; Harris 1994 ) . In child psychological science, fond regard is frequently restricted to a relationship between peculiar societal figures and to a peculiar phenomenon thought to reflect alone features of the relationship ( Santrock & A ; Bartlett 1986 ) . This essay will try to analyze the function and importance of fond regard behaviors in development.

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In Bowlby & # 8217 ; s position, there is a dyadic emotional ordinance between the baby and the female parent or health professional. The baby has innate signals to arouse responses from the health professional. Conversely, infant behavior such as weeping, cooing, smiling etc are elicited by the health professionals specific actions e.g. go forthing the room or seting the infant down. Santrock and Bartlett ( 1986 ) found that & # 8216 ; the baby & # 8217 ; s behavior is directed by the primary end of keeping the female parent & # 8217 ; s propinquity. The babe processes information about the female parent & # 8217 ; s location and changes his behavior based on this fact. Therefore? inherent aptitude or a fixed form is the primary force for developmental alteration, but is transformed through societal experience. & # 8217 ; This mutual tie of female parent and baby is a province that ensures attention and protection during the most vulnerable period of development.

This fond regard to the female parent has a clear biological endurance value, explicating the significance of the mother-infant interaction within the overall model of attachment behavior. Sroufe ( 1991 ) supports this position, he maintains that fond regard refers to a behavioral system, which is & # 8217 ; selected for its consequence on the generative success of persons in the environment in which they evolved. & # 8217 ; Bowlby argued that different fond regard behaviors, such as weeping, following etc, are functionally related, in that all may take to the same outcome & # 8211 ; the caregiver-infant propinquity ( Sroufe 1991 ) . Bowlby argues that fond regard, is hence a primary procedure, which is unconditioned, and is mediated by societal interchange. Here the ocular channel plays an of import function, i.e. through smile and oculus to oculus contacts.

Bowlby outlined four stages of the development of fond regard as an incorporate system of behaviors in babies:

Phase 1: – Birth & # 8211 ; 2/3 months

The baby directs his fond regard to human figures on an instinctual prejudice ; all are every bit likely to arouse smiling or shouting because the baby is non know aparting.

Phase 2: – 3-6 months

The baby & # 8217 ; s attachment focal points on one figure, typically the primary health professional.

Phase 3: – 6-9 months

The strength of fond regard to the female parent or health professional additions. Due to this and freshly acquired motor accomplishments, the baby now readily seeks the propinquity to the health professional.

Phase 4: – 9-12 months

The elements of fond regard listed above become integrated into a common system of fond regard to which both baby and female parent contribute.

Bowlby argued that communicating between the baby and the health professional takes the signifier of non verbal communicating, this can be oculus to oculus contact, or face to confront interaction. He went on to suggest that the babe & # 8217 ; s smiling is the indispensable accelerator that generates the infant-caregiver interaction. The interaction goes through positive feedback on both sides until it becomes a conversation of visually perceived gestures.

Wright ( 1991 ) outlines the advancement of this patterned advance of & # 8217 ; smiling & # 8217 ; in the development of attachment behaviors:

Menachem begins at birth: At foremost the smiling is fliting and uncomplete.

4-5 hebdomads: The smiling is now about complete and the trigger for the smiling becomes more specific.

5-6 hebdomads: The smile response is now to the full formed.

6-10 hebdomads: The mother/caregivers face evokes a more immediate and generous smiling than any other does.

2-3 months: The smiling response to the mothers/ health professionals and other familiars becomes more dominant ; with responses to aliens going weaker.

8 months onwards: The specificity of response becomes steadfastly established ; aliens are responded to quite otherwise from familiar faces, and the mother/ health professionals face evokes the strongest response of all.

Experiments confirm that after the 5th hebdomad happy ocular interactions elicit a smile response from a babe. In hebdomads 6 to 12 the babe is larning the features of human faces by tracking the face, the hairline etc. The kid will besides grin when oculus contact is eventually made. Studies support the position that the eyes are the most of import portion of the & # 8216 ; ocular gestalt & # 8217 ; that elicits a smiling ( Wright 1991 ) . Therefore, the female parent & # 8217 ; s face and the babe & # 8217 ; s smiling are the cardinal characteristics of the playful interaction that is basic to the attachment procedure. The babe & # 8217 ; s responses become progressively directed and specific ; the female parent & # 8217 ; s pleasance in and reactivity to her baby addition as she feels that her babe recognises her. & # 8216 ; Here is a conversation without words, a smiling between faces, at the bosom of human development. & # 8217 ; ( Wright 1991 )

Findingss from carnal surveies of behavior influenced Bowlby thoughts. Harlow and Zimmerman ( 1959 ) conducted an experiment that proved that fond regard was non based on the supply of nutrient affecting infant monkeys. The infant monkeys were placed in a coop with two, wire mesh, alternate monkey female parents. One was covered with terrycloth cloth while the other was left as it was. The infant monkeys were fed from the wire female parent. The hypothesis was that if the chief cause for fond regard was nutrient so one would anticipate that the monkeys would cleaving to the wire monkey which supplied milk. In existent fact, the monkeys preferred to pass their clip between eatings near to or cleaving to the fabric female parent. They would besides leap on this when frightened. Harlow & # 8217 ; s surveies demonstrate the importance of physical contact for the attachment bond. Other interesting findings from this experiment were that the babe & # 8217 ; s raised from birth in the research lab did non set up healthy societal behaviors. They did non prosecute in typical coupling behavior, and mother monkeys proved to be inattentive and opprobrious towards their progeny, non snuggling or feeding their immature. Harlow attributed this riotous behavior to the deficiency of societal contact with other monkeys during development ( Brodzinsky, Gormly & A ; Ambron 1979 ) .

Schaffer and Emerson ( 1964 ) degree Celsius

onducted an influential survey which looked at 60 kids every month for their first 12 months, and showed that support from feeding was non able to account for fond regard of babies to some people. Findingss showed that the babies formed multiple fond regards with parents, grandparents and siblings, and besides those who did really took small or no attention of the babies basic demands. Alternatively fond regards were formed with persons who were prepared to play, be responsible and interact socially with the kid.

Based on such surveies, Bowlby & # 8217 ; s logical thinking was that the biological demand for security has resulted in babies possessing a figure of attachment behaviors, e.g. weeping, following propinquity seeking etc, and that these behaviors are used to accomplish the end of a feeling of security, when babies feel insecure they will bring forth these behaviors. Bowlby greatly influenced the manner research workers thought about fond regard. There so followed the demand for some kind of measuring of attachment behavior.

Mary Ainsworth ( 1971 ) developed Bowlby & # 8217 ; s thoughts and elaborated on the stages to include other societal behaviors, and the usage of the attachment figure as a secure base. The & # 8217 ; unusual state of affairs & # 8217 ; was designed to mensurate the quality of fond regard between female parents and their babies. The process involved detecting the babies reactions to a alien when in the presence of the female parent, when entirely with the alien, so in the 3rd stage, reunited with the female parent. Three features forms were observed:

( I ) Group B & # 8211 ; Secure Attachment relationships: These kids use the female parent as a base of security in a unusual state of affairs, and while the female parent is present are content to research and besides respond positively to aliens. However, when the female parent leaves the room, they may or may non demo hurt, besides in the juncture of being alone with a alien. Upon the female parents return, firmly affiliated babes by and large make contact with their female parents, either by looking at them or, in the instance of those who have experienced hurt, by seeking contact and comfort from her. The trademark of these kids is that they use their fond regard figures to recover their beginning of security when stressed. This so allows them to travel freely through the universe once more through geographic expedition and drama. Most of the babes tested by Ainsworth displayed this sort of behavior.

( two ) Group C: Resistant insecurely attached relationships: These kids are more likely to look dying or hard-pressed and in demand of contact even when the female parent is in the room. This type of baby has problem utilizing the female parent as a secure base for geographic expedition. Upon reunion with the female parent after separation, the baby may, while seeking contact with her may actively defy her attempts to soothe them.

( three ) Group A: Avoidant insecurely attached relationships: The kids of this group separate readily to play, and do non peculiarly seek to be near to their female parent when entirely with her. They are besides non peculiarly distressed when left entirely with a alien. Most significantly, on reunion with their female parent they show no more than a insouciant salutation and may disregard, or pointedly look away from turn away from, or travel off from the health professional. They do non originate action and are non antiphonal to the female parents attempts at interaction ( Sroufe 1995 ) .

This state of affairs of being left entirely, and so being reunited with the health professional can be categorised into these three classs. An account of this is that with drawn-out separation, the emotional turbulence is so great that the babies behavioral construction is disorganised, and can non be put back together instantly. & # 8216 ; In clinical footings, one could talk of the baby as at first supporting against the possibility of renewed hurting and exposure by non admiting the presence of the caregiver. & # 8217 ; ( Sroufe 1995 ) All in all the different forms of fond regard have complex causes. They are thought to develop as a response to different manners of fussing and as a effect of the temperamental features of the kid. However, the categorization may change from civilization to civilization and the same babe may demo different forms depending on whether parents or siblings accompany the babe in the trial.

The practical importance of attachment research can be seen in the countries of hospitalization, and re homing orphaned or surrogate kids. The cognition gained from these trials should assist policy shapers deal with these issues with sensitiveness. Hospitalization of babies in peculiar has benefited from this research in that health professionals are now allowed to remain in infirmary with their babes or immature kids. The country of twenty-four hours attention installations have besides been benefited by this research, as it suggests that a brief separation does non interrupt the healthy fond regard bond as it was antecedently thought to make. However, if there is already stress in the place environment, the separation and insecure fond regard may hold inauspicious effects. Longer term effects of disrupted fond regard are more hard to set up ; but is thought to be reversible, as kids brought up in orphanhoods become firmly attached to their adoptive parents even every bit late as 8 old ages old ( Tizard and Hodges 1978 cited in Butterworth & A ; Harris 1994 ) .

In decision, Bowlby & # 8217 ; s thoughts and research provided a comprehensive footing for present twenty-four hours attacks to attachment. Research implies that there are, hence three chief features of attachment behaviors: First, the baby seeks the intimacy and propinquity of the health professional. Second, that the baby shows hurt at separation from the attachment figure and so relief upon reunion, i.e. , displays a clear penchant even without physical contact by oculus contact or heed to the sound of the health professionals voice. Third, that the infant uses the attachment figure as a unafraid base from which to research its physical and societal environment ( Brodzinsky, Gormly and Ambron 1979 ) . The importance of fond regard in the development of an baby can non be underestimated, as it is from this bond that the infant discoveries comfort security and a base from which to research his/her environment safely. Attachment behaviors can be seen as the manifestation of this demand that the baby has, as research suggests that a interruption from a meaningful, emotionally charged lasting relationship will bring forth extremely straitening effects.


Ainsworth, M. , Blehar, M.C. , Waters, E. and Wall, S. ( 1978 ) Patterns of Attachment, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bowlby, J ( 1969 ) Attachment and Loss, Vol1 Harmondsworth: Pelican Books.

Brodzinsky, D.M. , Gormly, A.V. , Ambron, S.A. , ( 1979 ) Lifespan Human Development, ( 3rd Ed. ) 123-133, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Butterworth, G. , Harris, M. , ( 1994 ) Principles of Developmental Psychology, Chap. 6, Hove: LEA.

Cardwell, M. , Clark, L. , Meldrum, c. , ( 1996 ) Psychology for A & # 8217 ; degree, London: HarperCollins.

Santrock, J.W. , Bartlett, J.C. ( 1986 ) Developmental Psychology: A life-cycle Perspective. 294-299, Iowa: Wm.C.Brown.

Schaffer, H.R. , ( 1998 ) Making Decisions about Children, ( 2nd Ed. ) 20-29, Blackwell.

Sroufe, L. Alan, ( 1995 ) Emotional Development, The organisation of emotional life in the early old ages. Chap.10, Cambridge: Cup.

Wright, K. ( 1991 ) Vision and Separation: Between female parent and babe, 8-11, London: FAB.