Contingent Stimulation: A Review of its Role in Early Development

  • Megan R. Gunnar
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 12)

Abstract

The last decade has seen a change in emphasis regarding the role of stimulation in sustaining and fostering cognitive, motivational and emotional development. Whereas, during the ‘60’s such diverse pathologies as dwarfism, mental retardation, depression and affectionless psychopathology were attributed to lack of sufficient stimulation, particularly maternal stimulation, during infancy (Ainsworth, 1962; David and Appell, 1961; Levine, 1969; Province and Lipton, 1962; Rheingold, 1960), during the ‘70’s these same pathologies have been attributed to lack of sufficient response-contingent, or controllable stimulation (Levine, this volume; Lewis and Goldberg, 1969; Seligman, 1975; Watson, 1966). This change in emphasis from stimulation, per se, to contingent stimulation has been brought about by an increasing recognition of the importance of control for normal functioning and for coping with stress (see reviews by Averill, 1973; Lefcourt, 1976; Seligman, 1975; and other articles in this volume). It has been argued that experiences with control alter one’s motivation to respond, ability to learn contingent relationships, and behavioral and physiological responses to aversive stimulation (Bandura, 1977; Levine and Hennessy, this volume; Overmier, this volume; Seligman, 1975).

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan R. Gunnar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineUSA

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