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Harry Harlow

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Compare and contrast research by Harry Harlow and Mary Ainsworth on understanding attachment

This essay is looking at the similarities of two researchers into attachment. The aim is to present their work so as to compare and contrast the different approaches and techniques used by both Harry Harlow and Mary Ainsworth. Even though they both had their different techniques in carrying out their experiments, the conclusion of their findings was very similar and this essay will be showing these findings by contrast. Both psychologists wanted to find out the underlying mechanics of attachment of mothers and their young.

Firstly an American psychologist namely Harry Harlow who almost by accident started the most influential work in
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So upon which she used the technique of observation to seemingly reach the same result as Harlow in that attachment is based on “contact comfort”.
Also realising in her study the importance of a “safe base” to infants, as in the observation research carried out on the Uganda families “if the mothers were unresponsive and emotionally detached, their infants seem to cry a lot more and often seemed clingy or insecure”(Discovering psychology, p.216,2010).

We see the advantages of Ainsworh 's study in wanting to find out about attachment in humans, by studying humans. As well as showing more credibility into the mechanics of human attachment it also provided Ainsworth with the opportunity to develop a highly influential procedure called the strange situation because of the complexity of humans. This procedure consisted of a series of seven episodes involving three participants, namely mother, baby and a stranger.

Page 3 personal identifier: C3257246

On completion of the procedure in the highly controlled environment (which
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