Under the mutual regulation model, infant–caregiver meaning-making processes are a central mechanism governing both adaptive and maladaptive child outcomes. This view has two central tenets. First, infants, and adults as well, must make nonverbal biospychological as well as nonverbal “meaning” about themselves with regard to the world of people and things. For infants these meanings coalesce in a rudimentary “biopsychosocial state of consciousness” that shapes their ongoing engagement with the world. To fail to make meaning is a psychic catastrophe. Second, infants and their engagement with the world are best understood from the perspective of open dynamic biological systems. As open systems, infants must constantly gain energy and meaningful information to maintain their organization and to increase its complexity and coherence—that is, to grow (Tronick, ...

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