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Presentation Information

Jacek Debiec

The Neurobiology of Attachment and Fear Learning in Infancy

  • Speaker: Jacek Debiec , M.D., Ph.D.
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

A child learns what is safe and what is threatening from the caregiver. Yet, what is safe and what is dangerous changes during development suggesting that the supporting learning neural circuitry must also change. For instance, young children might perceive separation from the caregiver as a potential threat and proximity to the caregiver as safety. This requires an involvement of a learning system encoding the characteristics of the caregiver and evoking approach responses to a caregiver, while absence of caregiver cues might be perceived as a threat. With maturation, a child acquires an ability to leave the caregiver for brief periods of time and the presence of a more complex system able to identify environmental dangers is required. This lecture will discuss recent studies in developmental neurobiology providing insight into the brain mechanisms of safety and fear learning in infancy and their implications for health and disease.