Schaffer and Emerson

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  • Schaffer and Emerson
    • Schaffer and Emerson (1963) proposed that all babies go through several distinct stages of attachment
      • There are different behaviours present during each stage, and all babies go through these stages in the same order
    • Came up with four different stages of attachment after observing 60 babies from mostly working-class families in Glasgow
    • method
      • They visited babies and mothers at their homes every month for the first year, and then again at 18 months
      • Asked mothers questions about babies' reactions to seven separations and the degree of intensity of protest
      • This was to measure their attachment, separation anxiety and stranger anxiety
    • findings
      • attachment tended to be to the caregiver who was most interactive and sensitive to infant signals and facial expressions (reciprocity). This was not necessarily the person the infant spent the most time with.
      • By 40 weeks, 80% of the babies had a specific attachment and almost 30% had multiple attachments
      • Identified four distinct stages in the attachment which they based their theory off of
    • evaluation
      • external valdity
      • mothers may have been biased on what they reported
        • social desirability bias
        • bad memory
        • babies reactions are subjective
      • lacks population validity
      • the idea that attachment follows the same stages in the same order may be ethnocentric.


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