The aim of this study that was carried out was to observe the attachment and exploratory behaviour of young children when they are found in a ‘’strange situation’’. The study this way focuses on two different concepts. The first one is the attachment –exploration balance, meaning the level of interaction of the child’s need to be attached to his/her carer and the want to explore the environment he/she is in. The second is the secure-base phenomenon which means the attachment figure the child uses as a secure base which they can later leave in order to explore the environment they are found in. The design used in this research was a repeated- measures design. There were 10 pairs of infants with one carer who volunteered to take part in the study. During the study, the child and the carer are in a playroom filled with different toys. There are 8 different episodes in the same order for every participant in which the researchers have to observe and record the different behaviours of the children, while the parent is with the child, or the stranger is with the child. The results showed that the child does use the parent as a secure base when it is in a ‘’strange’’ environment and when it is left alone with the stranger, attachment behaviours increase. The conclusion is that children do develop attachment behaviours with their caretakers or parents.
From a very early age in their lives, children learn how to develop attachment. This is a form of relationship which is developed with the parent or its primary caregiver from the moment it is born. In other words, it is the tendency they form to depend on a parent figure to care for them and rely on them when they feel distressed, frightened for some reason or when they are simply feeling more sensitive. The carers simply form a ‘’secure base’’ for the child. This way, children feel more secure, which in the future it allows them to be able and interact with other people as well as explore the environment they are found in, with more confidence. This feeling of attachment , has an influence in the child’s later life events as it effects the formation of his/her character, general development and ensures his/her well-being. Schaffer and Emerson (1964, cited in Child Psychology a developmental perspective, William J. Meyer, Jerome B. Dusek) defined attachment as ‘’ the tendency of the young to seek the proximity of certain other members of the species….Attachments are generally focused on certain specific individuals only, while to others fear responses may be shown.’’
This relationship with the parent is formed from the first few hours and days of the child’s life and interaction with the carer. This however, continues to mature during the rest of the child’s life, though the first few months and years are said to be the most significant into forming a secure attachment with the parent. It is important for a child, if they experience separation from a parent, to maintain some sort of contact with one parent or a caregiver who will provide them with the right support and will allow them to develop an attachment relationship. If they loose this contact then this may lead the child to feel insecurity, which may have a negative effect on their base feeling as well as its later understanding of the world and the environment they are found in. On the other hand, this does not mean that the child will definitely develop a negative conception of its environment for ever. It is a benefit for a child to develop a stable and secure relationship with another person in their lives.
This development is thought to be an adaptation which is formed from the forces of natural selection which increase survival of the species and reproduction. There were two researchers who studied the theory of attachment, such as John Bowlby who came up with the idea of the attachment relationship and Mary Ainsworth who developed a