Psychology Child Revision

  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 12-01-13 18:29

Key terms

Child Pscyhology-A branch of developmental psychology that looks at the development of the individual between birth and adolescene. 

Attachment-A strong emotional bond between an infant and their primary caregiver.

Deprivation-When the attachment between an infant and their primary caregiver is broken.

Short term deprivation-Separation between an infant and their primary caregiver for a few hours or days.

Long term deprivation-When the attachment between an infant and their primary caregiver is broken due to separation for extended periods of time.

Privation-When an attachment between and infant and a primary caregiver is never formed.

Evolutionary-The inheritence of certain characteristics and pre-programmed behaviour that aids survival. e.g attachment as it is essential to a child's safety.

Separation anxiety-Stress felt by a child when separated from their primary caregiver.

1) Bowlby's Theory of Attachment

Evolutionary basis of attachment

Bowlby was influenced by Lorenz's work that some animals will 'imprint'. Imprinting is where the animal will follow the first moving thing they see when they are born. Bowlby believed humans had a similar instinct, he thought that we have an innate tendency to attach to a primary caregiver. We do this as a survival instinct, because an attachment can aid our survival. He believed we also show proximity promoting behaviours which help us to remain close to our primary caregivers. These include: crying, smiling and clinging.These behaviours usually occur within the first 6 months of life.


This was Bowlby's idea that we form an emotional bond with our primary caregivers and have a warm, loving relationship. This occurs within the first year of life. We show separation anxiety when we are separated from our primary caregiver. We will show a marked preference for our primary caregiver and have a stranger fear so show stress around new people. We seek our primary caregivers as a secure base or safe haven.

Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis

Maternal deprivation occurs when an attachment is broken/there is a lack of attachment. Maternal deprivation leads to problems in later life such as problems with intellect, personality and social interaction. It can also lead to affectionless psychopathy. There is a critical period for development in the first few years of life when the primary caregiver should remain in frequent contact.Can result in a poor internal working model which is a cognitive representation of our relationships based on our first maternal relationship. Our later relationships can be affected-for example, if we suffered from maternal deprivation, we may feel unworthy of love later in life.

Evaluation of Bowlby's theory of attachment

  • 44 Juvenille thieves support -Most of those who had suffered maternal deprivation were affectionless psychopaths.
  • Harlow and Harlow-Supports the idea that maternal deprivation can affect your internal working model. The monkeys who had experienced maternal deprivation found it hard to interact/form relationships with the other monkeys.
  • Spitz-Found that the those in institutions showed proximity promoting behaviours such as crying and clinging when parted from their primary caregivers
  • Goldfarb-those who were fostered later on


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