Ainsworth Strange Situation Studies
The Strange Situation procedure, developed by American psychologist Mary Ainsworth, is widely used in child development research. Much research in psychology has focused on how forms of attachment differ between infants. For example, Schaffer and Emerson (1964) discovered what appeared to be innate differences in sociability in babies; some babies preferred cuddling more than others, from very early on, before much interaction had occurred to cause such differences. It’s easy enough to know when you are attached to someone because you know how you feel when you are apart from that person, and, being an adult, you can put your feelings into words and describe how it feels. However, most attachment research is carried out using infants and young children, so psychologists have to devise subtle ways of researching attachment, involving the observational method. Using the Strange Situation procedure, many researchers have studied the development of child attachment to the mother and other caregivers. However, there continues to be much debate about the origins of the child's reaction in the Strange Situation, and about what factors influence the development of an infant's attachment relationships. The security of attachment in one- to two-year-olds was investigated by Ainsworth and Bell (1970) in the '_strange situation_' study, in order to determine the nature of attachment behaviours and types of attachment. Ainsworth (1970) developed an experimental procedure in order to observe the variety of attachment forms exhibited between caregivers and infants. The experiment is set up in a small room with one way glass so the behaviour of the infant can be observed. Infants were aged between 12 and 18 months. The sample comprised about 100 middle class American families. The procedure, known as the ‘_Strange Situation_’, was conducted by observing the behaviour of the caregiver and the infant in a series of seven...
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