Teaching Securely Attached Students

I am applying findings from Attachment Theory in the classroom:

" In three separate studies, Mikulincer and Sheffi (2000) exposed participants to positive or neutral affect inductions and assessed breadth of mental categorization and ability to solve problems creatively.

[SECURE:] The beneficial effects of positive affect induction on creative problem solving and category breadth were observed only among people who scored relatively low on attachment anxiety and avoidance. These secure individuals reacted to positive affect by adopting more liberal and inclusive criteria when categorizing semantic stimuli and by performing better on a creative problem-solving task.

[INSECURE:] For individuals who scored relatively high on attachment avoidance, no significant difference was found between positive and neutral affect conditions. For individuals who scored relatively high on attachment anxiety, a reverse effect was found which resembled the typical effects of negative affect induction: Anxious individuals reacted to a positive affect induction with impaired creativity and a narrowing of mental categories.

[SECURE:]According to Schwartz and Bohner (1996), the induction of positive affect signals that "all is going well" and that one can explore unusual stimuli and associations in a relaxed and playful manner. In our view, the sense of attachment security facilitates the appraisal of this signal as a relevant input for cognitive processing, because it promotes openness to affective cues (Fuendeling, 1998). Furthermore, this inner sense facilitates creative exploration and the consequent broadening of one's perspectives, because it heightens confidence that one can deal effectively with uncertainty, novelty, and any confusion that the broadening of knowledge might create (Mikulincer, 1997)."

(Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver, and Dana Pereg, Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 27, No. 2, June 2003)