Outline and Evaluate Types of Attachment

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Outline and Evaluate research into types of attachment (12 marks)

Ainsworth ‘Strange Situation’ study aim was to investigate what type of attachment the infants had to their caregiver. Therefore, Ainsworth used 12 to 18 months infants in an experiment to test this. Ainsworth had several conditions to allow the observer to identify what reaction the infants are showing and hence, which attachment type. In a play area room, the infant and mother spent some time playing, suddenly the mother leaves (reaction of baby will be observed), then she will come back and reaction of the baby will be analysed again. Then a stranger will enter the room (analysing the infants reaction and behaviour), then mother leaves (analysing the infant reaction and behaviour) and mother enters again. Ainsworth found that there are three types of attachment, 70% were secure attachment, 15% insecure avoidant and 15% insecure ambivalent (resistant).

In evaluation, psychologists argue that Ainsworth study is very reliable, as the study has been replicated in several countries and similar results have been found. For example Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988) conducted a Meta analysis and found that attachment can be seen universal and in all countries secure attachment was the main attachment. However, critics also criticise that insecure avoidant and ambivalent has been different levels in different countries. Therefore it can be argues that Ainsworth study is not reliable as it doesn’t give the same result when replicated.

In addition, the experiment has high ecological validity as it very likely that the infant will be in circumstances were it will left alone and meet strangers, therefore can be easily related to real life. However, it is also arguable that that the departure of the mother in a strange place can be very stressful for the infant. Therefore, some psychologists argue that conducting the experiment in the infant’s home can cause less stress and can be a suitable...
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