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Example Answer for Question 16 Paper 1: A Level Psychology, June 2017 (AQA)


Last updated 25 Apr 2018

Section C – Attachment: Q16 [8 Marks]

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg’s research produced several key findings in relation to the distribution of attachment in different countries/cultures, including 1) Secure attachment was the most common type of attachment in all cultures.  2) Japan & Israel (collectivist cultures) showed higher levels of insecure-resistant attachment. 3) Germany (an individualistic culture) showed higher levels of insecure-avoidant attachment. However, it is also worth noting that Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg found that variation within cultures was one and a half times greater than variation between cultures. These results led Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg to conclude that secure attachment is the norm and that this type of attachment is the best for healthy development.

One issue with Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg’s research is that the underlying methodology of the studies in their meta-analysis used the Strange Situation. Their research highlights the culture bias demonstrated by the Strange Situation, as they reported significant differences in the distribution of attachment types in different cultures. For example, Germany had the highest rate of insecure-avoidant attachment which may be the result of different childrearing practices and not a more ‘insecure’ population. In Germany, there is a general desire to keep some interpersonal distance between parents and infants; therefore, parents would generally discourage proximity-seeking behaviours within the Strange Situation which might bias the results of attachment research in Germany leading to an incorrect classification of ‘insecure-avoidant’. Consequently, the underlying methodology used in their analysis demonstrates a clear culture bias making the application and generalisation of their findings to other cultures questionable.

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg’s results can be used to demonstrate the importance of nature and nurture. For example, psychologists like Bowlby argue that the similarities found suggest that attachments are innate. However, Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg’s findings also highlight the impact of the environment (nurture) as some of the cultural similarities could be explained by other factors, e.g. the media. This suggests that cultural similarities may not be due to nature alone, but an interaction of nature and nurture. 

[~300 words]

Please Note: These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.

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