This chapter discusses social development in children zero to three and focuses on three examples to show the interesting changes that occur in babies’ imitation. Andrew Meltzoff engaged in a study that showed that newborns imitate facial expressions in what is called mirroring imitation, which paves the way for social connections with people. Jean Piaget believes that before the age of five, children are very egocentric and have difficulty understanding that other people have different beliefs and desires, but others believe it might be at 18 months of age. Attachment is the slowly-developing infant to mother affection that is shown through proximity-seeking behaviors such as crying, sucking, watching and even protest at separation. John Bowlby proposed a theoretical model of attachment in which the baby’s desire to be with a primary caregiver is due to a biological need for contact that aids survival. The security of attachment makes it easier to have trusting and loving relationships later in life, supported by the work of Harry Harlow with infant monkeys. Mary Ainsworth assessed infant attachment using a paradigm called The Strange Situation, in which she identified four styles of attachment: secure attachment, anxious response, resistant response, and disorganized response. These form the basis for future relationships and are viewed differently in different cultures. Parents who are responsive, warm, and sensitive are associated not only with cognitive and language development, but with secure attachment.
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