Why is this important?
The patterns of attachment are universal across cultures and tend to be stable throughout childhood and into adulthood.
Am I loved?
This is one of the fundamental questions that a human being asks. If a person is securely attached, the answer to that question will be yes. Regardless of the moment, that person carries an internal torch that says something like this: "people will be there for me. Even though I feel lonely right now, the world is a good place full of good people."
Though there are numerous ways of understanding attachment, the other basic form is insecure attachment. These babies would cry out and have more difficulty in being comforted by their mother's in the experiment. Guess what? These babies grew up and became adults that have difficulty trusting others.
Sound like someone you know?
- The way we interact with people is not random but is a product of our life experience beginning just after we were born.
- This is generally stable throughout our lives but it doesn't have to be.
Ignore if you are not feeling "geeky"-The Experiment
The "strange situation" is a laboratory procedure used to assess infant attachment style. The procedure consists of the following eight episodes (Connell & Goldsmith, 1982; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978).
- Parent and infant are introduced to the experimental room.
- Parent and infant are alone. Parent does not participate while infant explores.
- Stranger enters, converses with parent, then approaches infant. Parent leaves inconspicuously.
- First separation episode: Stranger's behavior is geared to that of infant.
- First reunion episode: Parent greets and comforts infant, then leaves again.
- Second separation episode: Infant is alone.
- Continuation of second separation episode: Stranger enters and gears behavior to that of infant.
- Second reunion episode: Parent enters, greets infant, and picks up infant; stranger leaves inconspicuously.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.