The Strange Situation Procedure

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Attachment is a term used to describe a unique emotional bond through which two people are connected. Typically this is descriptive of a child’s desire for the physical closeness and security it associates with its primary care giver. The Strange Situation procedure is an experiment which seeks to examine the quality of this relationship. In evaluating the effectiveness of the experiment, this essay will first look at the background to the Strange Situation and how initial results serve to confirm an emerging popular theory of the time. Following this, the extent to which the experiment can be useful across species will then be considered. Moving forward limitations and potential concerns with regard to the ecological validity of the experiments will be taken into account, as well as …show more content…
Before the 1970’s, one popular theory commonly known as ‘cupboard love’ argued attachment of a child to its mother for example was simply demonstrative of an association to specific reinforces of food and warmth. The Psychologist John Bowlby argued innate abilities present at birth enabled children to create a complex and unique bond with the mother, treating the carer as safe base (Custance, 2012). This goes against previously held beliefs, suggesting more to such a relationship than simply a desire for food.
Having already spent time observing attachment in children In Uganda in the 1950’s, Mary Ainsworth was further inspired by the work of Bowlby and so the ‘Strange Situation’ was born. The study involves a child between the ages of 12 and 24 months, its mother and a stranger. The procedure is comprised of 7 three minute long episodes all based in a controlled surrounding of

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