Major Movements in Psychology

Attachment Theory

What is the strange situation and what does it show?

The strange situation is a twenty-minute procedure in which infants of twelve to eighteen months and their mothers are introduced to a room full of toys attached to an observation room by a one-way mirror. A sequence of separations and reunions follow. There are eight episodes to the strange situation, the first lasting only thirty seconds and the rest up to three minutes. The baby’s reactions during the two separation and reunion episodes are carefully observed through the one-way mirror. Based mainly on these behaviors, the baby is classified as either securely attached or into one of three insecurely attached categories.


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