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Published: 07-10-2019

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Ainsworth’s strange situation: pros and cons

The strange circumstance was a testing procedure produced by Mary Ainsworth et al. in 1978 to measure attachment. The aims of this study have been to assess how infants between 9 and 18 months behave beneath situations of mild tension in order to test stranger anxiousness, separation anxiety and the secure base concept. Ainsworth also assessed person variations between mother and infant pairs in terms of the top quality of their attachments. The sample was one hundred middle class American infants aged in between 9-18 months and their mothers. They were assessed in an 8 stage controlled observation study and the behaviour of the infant was recorded following every stage. The very first stage was the infant and care giver getting into the unfamiliar space, briefly followed by the child being encouraged to explore the new surroundings. Soon after about 3 minutes a stranger enters they talk to the care giver and try to interact with the infant. Next the mother leaves the space and the stranger gives comfort to the child if necessary. The care giver then re-enters the space following three minutes and provides the infant comfort if required and the stranger leaves. Soon right after the care giver leaves, leaving the infant alone, nonetheless the stranger then re-enters supplying comfort to the infant. Lastly, the care giver enters and greets the infant. The behaviours that had been tested have been proximity searching for, exploration and secure base behaviour, stranger anxiousness, separation anxiety and the response to reunion. 3 sorts of attachment had been distinguished insecure-avoidant, securely attached and insecure-resistant.

A strength of Ainsworth’s strange circumstance is its higher internal validity. Due to her use of a controlled condition Ainsworth could control a lot of of the elements within her experiment. Ainsworth controlled the experiment by utilizing the very same stranger all through the whole study, the amount of time with/with no the infant was assessed and the mother’s behaviour was controlled. One more strength of her study is that it was really effortlessly performed and observed. The study essential really small gear, except for a child friendly area and toys for the infant to interact with. As a outcome of the controlled condition the study can be replicated several instances to check the consistency of the findings. Also, researchers stood behind a 1-way mirror and observed the mother-child and stranger-kid relations that occurred.

On the other hand, a disadvantage of Ainsworth’s strange scenario is its low external validity. As a outcome of the experiment occurring in an artificial atmosphere, the data can't be easily applied to the outside world. The artificial atmosphere may have caused the youngster distress and for that reason impacted the benefits. An additional disadvantage of the study would be its cultural bias. The experiment was performed on only American mothers and infants, this reduces the representativeness of the information as attachments in other cultures may differ from ones in America. A final disadvantage of Ainsworth’s study is that it only research mother-infant relations, excluding father-infant attachments. In 1981, Main and Weston identified that youngsters acted differently in the strange predicament depending on which parent they had been with. Some young children showed insecure-attachments to their mothers, but safe attachments to their fathers, displaying that attachment kinds are linked to individual relationships with carers and not set qualities of children. Overall this shows that the strange scenario may not be a valid measure of attachment varieties.
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