Attachment Theory by John Bowlby and Mary Ainworth

Published: 2021-07-02 11:00:05
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Category: Attachment Theory

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Psychologist John Bowlby believed that childhood development depended upon a child’s ability to form a good strong relationship with at least one caregiver, this would usually be the parents. Bowlby’s studies led him to believe that a strong attachment provides the necessary sense of security but he found that those without such relationships in place were fearful and less willing to learn from new experiences unlike those who have strong parental relationships to encourage new and adventurous experiences. Mary Ainsworth developed many of the ideas set out by Bowlby in her studies.
She identified the existence of what she calls “attachment behaviour” which demonstrated by insecure children hoping to establish or re-establish and attachment to absent parents. Mary Ainsworth studied a broad range of children from good strong attachments to very weak attachments. The children were separated from their parents and their reactions were observed, the children with strong attachments stayed calm and seemed secure enough to know that their parents would be back soon, whereas the children with the weaker attachments would be insecure and cry and show signs of distress until their parents returned.
Mary Ainsworth agrees with John Bowlby’s theories that a good strong healthy attachment is vital for the individuals physical development. (psychologistworld. com) JEAN PIAGET – COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Jean Piaget became interested with the reasons children gave for their wrong answers on questions that required logical thinking. He believed that these wrong answers revealed the differences between the think of adults and children. He was the first psychologist to make studies of cognitive development.
His theories of intellectual child development include observational studies, intelligence in children and a series of simple test to reveal different intellectual abilities. The goal of Jean Piaget’s theories was to explain how a child develops into an individual who can reason and think for themselves. Piaget believed that children think differently to adults and that children go through 4 universal stages of intellectual development, and that development is biologically based and changes as the child matures.
Intelligence develops in children in the in the same sequence and believed that these stages are universal, i. e, the same sequence of development occurs in children all over the world what ever their culture. Piaget’s theories did not completely relate to education but is based upon biological maturity. Researchers have explained how Piaget’s theories can be applied to education and teaching. Piaget was extremely influential in developing the educational policy and teaching, i. e.
a review of primary education by the UK government in 1966 was based on Piaget’s theories and as a result of this review led to the publication of the Plowden report in 1967. Because Piaget’s theories are based upon biological maturity and stages the notion of “readiness” important, meaning that children should not be taught certain concepts until they have reached the appropriate stages of intellectual development. (simplypsychology. org) ERIK ERIKSON – PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Erik Erikson was an ego psychologist who emphasised the role of culture and society and the conflict that can take place within the ego itself. According to Erikson the ego develops as it successfully solves crises that are distinctly social in nature, these involve a sense of trust in others, developing an identity in society and help the next generation prepare for the future. Erikson proposed a lifespan model of development, taking in five stages up to the age of 18 years and three further stages beyond, well into adulthood.
Erikson suggests that there is still plenty of room for continued growth and development throughout one’s life. Erikson put a great deal of emphasis on the adolescent period, feeling it was a crucial stage for developing a person’s identity. Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and build upon each previous stage. The outcome of this ‘maturation timetable’ is a wide and integrated set of life skills and abilities that function together within the autonomous individual.
However, Instead of focusing on sexual development (like Freud), he was interested in how children socialize and how this affects their sense of self. Erikson assumes that a crises occurs at each stage of development. For Erikson, these crises are of a psychosocial in nature because they involve psychological needs of the individual conflicting with the needs of society. Erikson acknowledges his theory is more a descriptive overview of human social and emotional development that does not adequately show how or why this development occurs.
For example, Erikson does not explicitly explain how the outcome of one psychosocial stages influence personality at a later stage. One of the strengths of Erikson’s theory is it ability to tie together important psychosocial development across the entire lifespan. Although support for Erikson’s stages of personality development exists (McAdams, 1999), critics of his theory provide evidence suggesting a lack of discrete stages of personality development (Costa and McCrae, 1997). (simplypsychology. org)

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