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on attachment & visitors

Despite my lack of motivation concerning the assignment due yesterday afternoon my half-finished product put me in a better position than my instructor, who had looked at the reading over the weekend and decided that it wasn't worth the bother. Aynesworth goes into so much detail, yet at the same time this means that some of her descriptive categories suffer from an over-complexification that borders on the absurd. My new reading assignment is Mary True's dissertation on Mother-infant attachment and communication among the Dogon of Mali, with a focus on examining the Maternal Sensitivity Hypothesis. I hope it goes a little easier than my last foray into attachment theory.

In other news, I found a beetle trundling across the floor of our living room this afternoon. One thing I've noticed about my current apartment is that there don't seem to be anywhere near as many spiders as the house I lived in before. My old bedroom probably received more than its fair share of arachnids from its location next to an outside door that wouldn't close all the way - providing refuge to all manner of guests. Seeing spiders on a regular basis may not be the greatest thing in the world, but they wouldn't stick around if it weren't for the presence of a steady food supply. Fewer spiders in our apartment implies that there's less for them to eat. My flatmate did come across a centipede in her room before leaving for the summer though; it seems there is at least one other invertebrate predator sharing our home.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)
in a nutshell, what's the mother-infant attachment and the maternal sensitivity hypothesis. I remember reading somewhere that there are three ways a mother can be to her child, and one of them may lead to schizophrenia...is that it? I hope i'm remembering things right.
Jul. 26th, 2006 07:03 am (UTC)
Mother-infant attachment involves the behaviors used by infants to gain attention from their caregiver (usually a mother) based on an evolutionary framework. The mother's reaction to the infant's attachment-seeking behavior sets the tone for the infants level of security (later in infancy, although perhaps also later in life). The four types of attachment are:

i. Secure. The infant seeks contact with the mother in response to strange or frightening experiences, and the mother replies appropriately.
ii. Insecure-Avoidant. The infant seeks contact with the mother as before, but the mother ignores the infant. This leads the infant to realize that their efforts won't be rewarded and they subsequently push away from, fuss around, or ignore their mother.
iii. Insecure-Resistant. The infant seeks proximity with the mother, but the mother provides inconsistent responses that don't match the infants signals - leading the infant to be too anxious to explore the environment.
iv. Insecure-Disorganized/Disoriented. The infant seeks contact with the mother but the response is such that the infant doesn't know how to respond, or is frightened by the reaction. The infant doesn't feel attached to the mother and displays a wide variety of reactions.

The maternal sensitivity hypothesis proposes that the caregiver's sensitivity in meeting the infant's needs is a (or "the") key determinant of infant attachment security. It's assumed to be both universal (applicable across cultures) and culturally relative (in that responses will vary between cultures).

I haven't come across anything related to schizophrenia.
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)
This is from "The Passion of the Western Mind", p. 419.

"In Bateson's formulation, there were four basic premises necessary to constitute a double bind siutation between a child and a "schizophrenogenic" mother: (1) The child's relationship to the mother is one of vital dependency, thereby making it critical for the child to assess communications from the mother accurately. (2) The child receives contradictory or incompatible information from the mother at different levels, whereby, for example, her explicit verbal communication is fundamentally denied by the "metacommunication," the nonverbal context in which the explicit message is conveyed (thus the mother who says to her child with hostile eyes and a rigid body, "Darling you knwo I love you so much"). The two sets of signals cannot be understood as coherent. (3) The child is not given any opportunity to ask questions of the mother that would clarify the communication or resolve the contradiction. And (4) the child cannot leave the field, i.e., the relationship. In such circumstances Bateson found, the child is forced to distort his or her perception of both outer and inner realities, with serioius psychopathological consequences.
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