According to new research by the University of Illinois, adolescents with a history of insecure attachment to their mothers as toddlers were more likely to exaggerate the trustworthiness of strangers.
The study was published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
“This longitudinal study examined the prospective association between toddler–mother attachment to adolescents’ behavioral and neural responses during the evaluation of trustworthiness from unfamiliar, emotionally neutral faces,” the authors explained in their study.
“At 33 months, toddler–mother attachment status (secure vs insecure classification) was assessed using a modified Strange Situation procedure. Results revealed that attachment moderated the processing of trustworthiness facial cues.”
The study indicates that a secure child-mother attachment during early childhood may be associated with a greater capacity for processing possibly negative social information later in life.
“Findings suggest that a secure compared with insecure child–mother attachment in toddlerhood may be associated with greater capacity for, or openness to, processing potentially negative social information at both the behavioral and neural levels during adolescence,” the study concluded.