Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth was an important developmental psychologist. Her work demonstrated the importance of healthy childhood attachments, and she pioneered the use of a technique known as the “Strange Situation” assessment.4

In her research on mother-child attachments and interactions, Ainsworth would have a mother and a child sit in an unfamiliar room. Researchers would then observe the child’s reactions to various situations including a stranger entering the room, being left alone with the stranger, and the mother’s return to the room.

Ainsworth’s groundbreaking work had a major influence on our understanding of attachment styles and how these styles contribute to behavior later in life.