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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Professor Charles Fernyhough

Corriveau, K., Harris, P.L., Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., Arnott, B., Elliott, L., Liddle, B., Hearn, A., Vittorini, L. & De Rosnay, M. (2009). Young children’s trust in their mothers’ claims: Longitudinal links with attachment security in infancy. Child Development 80(3): 750-761.

Author(s) from Durham


In a longitudinal study of attachment, children (N = 147) aged 50 and 61 months heard their mother and a stranger make conflicting claims. In 2 tasks, the available perceptual cues were equally consistent with either person’s claim but children generally accepted the mother’s claims over those of the stranger. In a 3rd task, the perceptual cues favored the stranger’s claims, and children generally accepted her claims over those of the mother. However, children’s pattern of responding varied by attachment status. The strategy of relying on the mother or the stranger, depending on the available perceptual cues, was especially evident among secure children. Insecure-avoidant children displayed less reliance on their mother’s claims, irrespective of the available cues, whereas insecure-resistant children displayed more.