Children who experience profound neglect have been found to be more prone to a behavior known as "indiscriminate friendliness," characterized by an inappropriate willingness to approach adults, including strangers.
Indiscriminate friendliness is in some sense a misnomer. The behavior is not characterized by a deep friendliness but simply by a lack of reticence that most young children show toward strangers.
"This can be a very frightening behavior for parents," said Nim Tottenham, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA and the study's senior author. "The stranger anxiety or wariness that young children typically show is a sign that they understand their parents are very special people who are their source of security. That early emotional attachment serves as a bedrock for many of the developmental processes that follow."