Developmental psychology/Chapter 4/The Development of Social Bonds

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The social sequence of an infant is as follows: synchrony, attachment, and social referencing.

Synchrony[edit | edit source]

  • Synchrony is the fast exchange of communication with a parent and an infant which flows like a river.
  • Synchrony increases during the infant's first year.
  • Synchronized adults respond by coming closer, opening up their face (increase eye size, mouth length and eyebrows) and blabber nonsense to interact positively with the baby.
  • Routines can be developed and maintained during synchrony (face-pulling, head turning).

Both Players Play a Role[edit | edit source]

  • Synchrony begins with both players as adults start smiling with infants when they turn their social smile on (6 weeks).
  • Symbiosis of synchrony is evident as studies revealed that every single eyebrow raised, widen eyed and pucked up lips all came on synch. Heart and brain waves also indicate symbiosis.
  • Synchrony begins with the adult imitating the infant's tone. Firstly, adults respond to an infant's perceptions - which results in the infant imitating behaviours that are perceptible to the family and culture.

Synchrony is Experience-Expected[edit | edit source]

  • The title of this section shows that synchrony is what every baby goes through! The still-face technique experiment proves this.
  • Babies, especially near 6 months, are visibly and physically upset at their caregivers randomly becoming "still-faced" midway.
  • Responsiveness affects a toddler's psychosocial and biological development. This is seen in the heart rate, weight gain and brain development.
  • One still-faced experiment on 4 month olds revealed that there are three groups that the toddlers fall into right after the still-faced was removed: socially engaged (33%), disengaged (60%), and negatively engaged (7%). Each mother also reacted differently: the socially engaged mothers copied the babies every move, while the negatively engaged mothers responded with dissatisfaction and even anger when their infants cried/got upset.

Attachment[edit | edit source]

  • Attachment is the connection between the parent and the infant. This aids infants in learning how to understand and express human emotions.
  • Begins before birth, peaks at age 1 and lasts a lifetime
  • Developmentalists believe that attachment comes from mankind's basic survival needs, with its embodiment depending on the culture (kissing vs. no kissing [Western vs. African]) and age.

Stages[edit | edit source]

  1. Birth to 6 weeks - Preattachment: signal need for affection and attention by others by crying and related body movements. When comforted, they want more interactions with their caregivers. Their brains are trained to track familiar voices and faces.
  2. 6 weeks to 8 months - Attachment in the making: Infants respond to familiar people through positive emotions. Trust develops during this time (Erikson's stage).
  3. 8 months to 2 years - Classic secure attachment: Infants are very much attached to caregivers - Separation anxiety.
  4. 2 years to 6 years - Attachment as launching pad: Children rely on caregivers for motivation and comfort. Interactive games, such as pretending or playing with toys, are frequent.
  5. 6 years to 12 years - Mutual attachment: concrete operational thought - accomplished goals are lavishly applauded by the caregiver to the child and the child seeks to install pride in their parents.
  6. 12 years to 18 years - New attachment figures: formal operational thinking - shared goals are influential on a teenager making new friends and explore, somewhat distancing themselves from their parents compared to previous years.
  7. 18+ years - Attachment revisited: Previous attachment patterns are replicated with the adult formulating new relationships with romantic partners and children. Insecure attachments during childhood could be repaired, but this isn't always the case.

Signs[edit | edit source]

  • Infants show attachment through proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining.

Classification[edit | edit source]

  • Attachment is broken down into A, B, C, and D.
  • A and C (1/3): Both types represents insecure attachment. Type A is insecure-avoidance attachment, which is when a child plays by itself without the care of their caregiver. Type C is the opposite (insecure-resistant/ambivalent attachment), where the child gets very angry upon departure of their owner.
  • B (2/3): Infants in type B are secured and able to take any tasks as long as the caregiver is present with the baby, this being known as secure attachment ("A toddler might, for example, scramble down from the caregiver’s lap to play with an intriguing toy but periodically look back and vocalize (contact-maintaining) or bring the toy to the caregiver for inspection (proximity-seeking)", Macmillan EBOOK 135). These babies are most likely to have more successful futures (capable parents and healthy adults).
  • D (5-10%): An infants shows a variety of reactions to their caregivers almost randomly: disorganized attachment.

Read Ceausescu’s children to see the effects on children when they receive no humane interactions within their first year

Which actions increase which type?[edit | edit source]

Type B[edit | edit source]
  1. Sensitive to infant's needs
  2. High symbiosis in synchrony
  3. Easy temperament
  4. Not stressed/depressed
  5. Type B with their own parents
Type A and C[edit | edit source]
  1. Mistreatment [A: neglect; C: abuse]
  2. Mental Illnesses [C: depression]
  3. Parental stress [A]
  4. Total domination [A]
  5. Alcoholism [A: Father suffers alcoholism]
  6. Difficult temperament [C]
  7. Slow-to-warm up temperament [A]

Type D[edit | edit source]

  1. Mental Illnesses (paranoia)
  2. Parental stress
  3. Alcoholism (Mother suffers alcoholism)

Social Referencing[edit | edit source]

  • Social Referencing is emulating another person's emotions as a guidance tool for unfamiliar situations.
  • Not only are they able to understand people's gazes and expressions, they also discriminate who should they rely on and who they shouldn't rely on.
  • Using social cues, they learn to eat foods that may not be eaten in other cultures (bacon: western world vs. Arab world). They also learn which activities are forbidden and to determine whether eating is real or not.

The Role of the Father[edit | edit source]

  • Fathers are more of the "exciting type" (playing more games, chasing) vs. the mothers, who are there for comforting. As a result, they bring out more smiles from the infant.
  • Differences in gender roles are more recognizable between couples vs. within couples.

What has other research found?[edit | edit source]

Gender differences are observed between nations, income, cohorts and ideologies. An example is a study done in rural Indonesia, where they found that since the father had more of a responsibility to take care of the house, he could not play a direct role in the caring of his infants. In the US, the mothers were less stressed by a crying infant when their fathers did the active comforting vs. the mother performing active comforting (despite moms using more soothing techniques to calm the father). This may be because the mother does not have to deal with the baby[speculation]. Immigrant fathers in the US are more involved with their infants development than their own fathers were.

On the flip side, when circumstances are not ideal, the father may 'switch off' in taking care of the infant - mothers don't have this option.