The effects of blanket-attachment on learning in young children

Young children between the ages of 20 and 40 months were rated by their mother on their attachment to a blanket and randomly assigned to groups with or without their blanket present. Children were prompted by a stranger to participate in a novel learning task in an unfamiliar home setting. The four dependent variables measured on an Apple II computer, programmed to run the experiment, were: latency to crying, latency to first response, discrimination index, and number of trials completed. Stepdown analysis of variance showed a reliable interaction effect for latency to response. Blanket-attached children with their blanket present responded more slowly to the learning task when their blanket was present. When the blanket was present with children that were not attached to it, they responded more quickly. No main effects were found for attachment or familiar object. The results were contradictory to those found in previous research on how blanket-attachment affects learning, and are discussed in terms of theoretical implications and changes in methodology.