One of the most influential accounts of the development of attachment is by Rudolph Schaffer and Peggy Emerson in 1964. They suggested that there are three main stages to the attachment process. Stage 1: Which is from birth to 6 weeks. Schaffer and Emerson called this the ‘Asocial Stage’. According to Schaffer and Emerson, babies during this period do not act in a social manner. Babies respond to people in much the same way as the do to everything else, for example toys. They also do not show any recognition of individual people.
Stage 2: Which is from 6 weeks to 7 months. Schaffer and Emerson called this the ‘Indiscriminate Attachment Stage’. According to Schaffer and Emerson, infants can now distinguish between people and things, and show a general sociability towards people. Schaffer later divided Stage 2 into two parts in 1977. 1st part of Stage 2: is from 6 weeks to 3 months. Schaffer suggests that the infant will start showing a preference for human company and will develop a general sociability towards people. 2nd part of Stage 2: is from 3 months to 7 months.
Schaffer suggest that the infant begins to distinguish between people and recognises familiar and unfamiliar people. Stage 3: Which is from 7 months. At around 7 months, Schaffer and Emerson suggest that the infant enters the ‘Specific Attachment Stage’, and forms a strong, long-lasting, and emotional bond with a particular individual, which is usually the mother. Specific Attachment is indicated by the infant showing distress when they are separated from their attachment figure, this is known as separation protest and is taken as evidence for separation anxiety.
From around 7 months infants protest if separated from their attachment figure, and show special joy when they are reunited with them. Schaffer and Emerson used separation protest as an indicator that attachment has occurred, as a way of identifying the main attachment figure, and as a way of measuring the strength of attachment. Give two criticisms of the Strange Situation (Ainsworth) (6 marks) Two of the main criticisms of the ‘Strange Situation’ experiment designed by Mary Ainsworth and colleagues in 1978 are: Firstly, it has been criticised for being unrealistic.