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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL • Insecure disorganized attachment describes the style of a child who tends to fear relationships and may have difficulty regulating or reading emotions, based on a caregiver whose behavior is wildly inconsistent, confusing, frightening, or abusive. A child with this attachment style could, for example, be deeply distressed but choose to lie on the floor and cry (but not just tantrum behavior) rather than to seek comfort from her caregiver in the room, since her fear of being hurt by the caregiver overcomes her need to seek comfort. Insecure attachments result from the disruption of the relationship between the caregiver and the infant to the extent that a healthy bond does not form. This disruption can be caused by maternal depression, vio- lence toward the infant, inconsistent responses to the infant’s needs, or neglect of the infant. Essentially, the child learns that he cannot depend on the caregiver to be responsive to his needs, or worse, he begins to fear the caregiver because of the caregiver’s violent or neglectful actions. Insecure attachment styles and the brain development that accompa- nies them can contribute to a variety of behavioral and thinking patterns that affect the rest of a person’s social and internal life. Current neural research has shed light on the importance of attachment to the develop- ment of critical brain circuitry for self-regulation, stress management, and empathy. Children who grow up experiencing secure attachments to their caregiver have stronger self-regulation skills later on (Drake, Belsky, and Fearon 2013). Thus, the care provider’s efforts to soothe and comfort fussing infants help build the self-regulation capacity of the child (Cozo- lino 2006; Cozolino 2013). Similarly, insecure attachments may cause disruptions in the development of areas of the brain responsible for skills such as self-regulation, stress management, and empathy. Recently, insecure attachment has been linked to possible changes in the brain. Research with adults who had insecure attachments as children has revealed differences in how these adults’ brains process social cues and rewarding information compared to adults who had secure attach- ments (Vrtiˇcka and Vuilleumier 2012). Insecure attachments, which may result from relationships with caregivers that are not reciprocal, are dis- rupted, or are even violent in nature often create situations of toxic stress for the child, resulting in changes in the way the brain interprets incom- ing information from the environment. These changes may contribute to tendencies of a child to withdraw from or lash out at others around him. Attachment COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and the Growing Brain 13