Ainsworth Honored on 82nd Birthday
Dr. Ainsworth is best known for her theoretical and empirical contributions to understanding and measuring early emotional relations. Of great importance is Dr. Ainsworth's 'Strange Situation,' a laboratory procedure that she designed to assess the response of an infant, whether alone or in the company of a stranger, to the exit and return of the mother.
Dr. Ainsworth's findings marked a critical shift in perceptions about infancy and child-rearing. Her findings became particularly important during the 1980s when women were increasingly entering the workforce and placing infants in day care. Her research established that infants who receive warm, sensitive care become securely attached and that secure attachment does not create dependency; rather, it liberates and enables autonomy.