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Object permanence and separation anxiety

In this chapter, with an interview from Maria Robinson we look at why babies and young children love repetition so much and how repetition really supports brain development. With this emerging recognition of what is familiar and expected, we also look at how Orson responds when the unexpected happens, when Mum leaves and new faces appear.

Good for looking at

  • Object permanence
  • Schema
  • Piaget
  • Secure attachment
  • Separation anxiety
  • Babies
  • Parents
00:10
As we've already seen,
00:11
babies often use repeated behaviors
00:13
when they're playing and experimenting.
00:16
Orson would often grasp and mouth things
00:18
to find out about them.
00:21
He'd repeat the same grasp and mouth action
00:24
with different objects.
00:26
Piaget called these basic patterns of movement, "Schemas."
00:32
A schema seems to be a pattern of behavior
00:35
that children do over and over and over again,
00:39
often in slightly different ways.
00:41
In order to help them really understand a concept
00:46
that they might have, you know, that they're trying to learn
00:49
and to get hold of.
00:51
For example, one thing that happens
00:52
in this particular age range
00:55
is that children suddenly realize
00:57
that something out of sight still exists.
00:59
So what you find is that the baby will drop something
01:02
out of their prams, say or highchair.
01:05
And they will actually start to look for it,
01:08
and then somebody will pick it up and put it back
01:10
and then do it again and look again.
01:12
And they will do this over and over again
01:15
because they're beginning to try to establish
01:19
that the thing they've dropped and the thing that comes back
01:21
onto their table or whatever is actually the same thing.
01:26
Orson's begun to grasp
01:27
that when things are out of sight, they do still exist.
01:31
As we've seen before, it is a repetition of skills
01:34
that builds the brain and prunes out the now on use sections
01:38
and strengthens others.
01:40
Here, just a month ago, as he watched mom hide his ball,
01:43
he had no concept of where it had gone.
01:50
It's just gone.
01:52
It's just gone.
01:58
There it is.
02:03
Now it's clear that he's worked out
02:04
the objects are permanent.
02:06
Look at your little feet.
02:08
Look at your little feet.
02:15
Where's she gone?
02:17
Where's she gone?
02:20
Their she is.
02:22
Piaget called this concept "Object Permanence."
02:29
This expands as Orson's, realizes it also applies to people.
02:33
This cognitive development is strongly linked
02:36
to his attachment behavior.
02:38
Orson is starting to show separation anxiety.
02:43
Mom's disappearance here is a clear illustration
02:46
of his strong attachment to her,
02:48
'cause he now shows separation anxiety
02:50
when left with a stranger.
02:52
Babies suddenly begin to realize that they've established
02:56
who they feel safe and comfortable with.
02:58
Who's that person that makes them feel good inside.
03:02
And they're beginning to discriminate between those people
03:05
that they know very well and people that they perhaps
03:08
don't know quite so well.
03:09
They start to react to those unfamiliar people with perhaps,
03:14
crying or a bit of a distress or a show of anxiety.
03:18
Which doesn't settle until perhaps they're held in the arms
03:21
of the person that they feel comfortable with
03:24
and then when they feel safe again,
03:27
they can perhaps turn to that person
03:29
and start to interact with them.
03:31
But, you know, they're beginning to really realize
03:35
who they know and who they don't know.
03:38
Has the secure attachment relationship between Orson's
03:41
and his mom becomes solidified.
03:43
The connections in the prefrontal cortex
03:45
reached their highest density.
03:48
This brain maturation coincides with physical advances.
03:53
Now that Orson is fully mobile
03:55
and knows that mom always exists, is at a stage when
03:58
he's often reluctant to let her out of his sight.
04:01
She's very much a secure base
04:03
from which he explores and learns
04:05
I've gone away.
04:07
Mama, mama, mama.
04:10
I know, I know.
04:14
She helps him calm down
04:15
so that he can play and concentrate again.
04:19
What's the matter.
04:24
Even here when he's left with dad
04:26
to whom he is also attached, he cries where mom,
04:29
his primary attachment figure leaves him.
04:37
Oh, don't cry 'cause you've been given a daddy.
04:42
Where's she gone?
04:44
There is a hierarchy of attachment
04:47
and at the moment if she's around,
04:49
he wants mom who's top of the tree.
04:60
It's all right.