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Keywords:

  • Internal working models;
  • Attachment;
  • Infant cognition;
  • Individual differences

Abstract

Three visual habituation studies using abstract animations tested the claim that infants’ attachment behavior in the Strange Situation procedure corresponds to their expectations about caregiver–infant interactions. Three unique patterns of expectations were revealed. Securely attached infants expected infants to seek comfort from caregivers and expected caregivers to provide comfort. Insecure-resistant infants not only expected infants to seek comfort from caregivers but also expected caregivers to withhold comfort. Insecure-avoidant infants expected infants to avoid seeking comfort from caregivers and expected caregivers to withhold comfort. These data support Bowlby’s (1958) original claims—that infants form internal working models of attachment that are expressed in infants’ own behavior.