Dr Pascal Vrticka (PhD, FHEA)
Lecturer / Assistant Professor
Centre for Brain Science, Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom
Dr Pascal Vrticka is a social neuroscientist with strong ties to developmental & social psychology. His research focuses on the psychological, behavioural, biological, and brain basis of human social interaction, attachment, and caregiving.
One area of Dr Vrticka’s research is dedicated to measuring neurobiological responses to different kinds of social versus non-social information in individual participants. This 1st person social neuroscience approach relies on (functional) magnetic resonance imaging – (f)MRI – and electroencephalography – EEG.
More recently, Dr Vrticka started to assess bio-behavioural synchrony in interacting dyads. The main question of this 2nd person social neuroscience approach is how romantic partners and parents with their children get “in sync” when they solve problems together or talk to each other.
In his bio-behavioural synchrony research, Dr Vrticka is particularly interested in interpersonal neural synchrony. His method of choice to assess interpersonal neural synchrony is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning. Dr Vrticka combines fNIRS hyperscanning with behavioural observations, interviews, and self-reports (i.e., questionnaires).
The principal theoretical framework underlying Dr Vrticka’s research is attachment theory, which describes how we initiate and maintain social relationships across the life span. By adding a systematic 1st and 2nd person social neuroscience perspective to attachment theory and research – also in the form of new functional neuro-anatomical models of organised and disorganised human attachment (NAMA and NAMDA) -, Dr Vrticka is promoting a new area of investigation: the social neuroscience of human attachment.
▶TEDx University of Essex 2022 Talk
Caring Dads: The Making of Involved and Confident Fathers
Dr Pascal Vrticka is excited and honoured to have been selected as one of the speakers for the 2022 TEDx University of Essex event “Are you paying attention?” on May 14th.
In his talk, Dr Vrticka explained why we should be paying more attention to dads and the important role they play for their children, their families and society as a whole. Dr Vrticka’s arguments were supported by state-of-the-art social neuroscience data revealing the many biological and brain changes that men undergo when they become fathers. Dr Vrticka furthermore illustrated why it is so important to give dads as much time and space as possible to interact and bond with their children.
More information is available here.
▶New Caring Dads Website Section
The Social Neuroscience of Attachment & Caregiving in Fathers
A new website section is now available specifically dedicated to the social neuroscience of attachment and caregiving in fathers. Hopefully, the provided content can serve as an important resource for dads, mums, families, teachers, practitioners and many more.
Nowadays, dads are spending more time involved in caregiving activities than ever before. Emerging social neuroscience evidence shows that dads (like mums) are biologically wired to become parents – important changes happen in men’s body and brain when they become fathers. At the same time, dads (like mums) are made, not born – the neurobiological machinery needs to be put into action, fine-tuned and constantly updated. We thus must ensure that dads have as much time as possible to interact and bond with their kids and that dads feel rewarded by and confident about their new role as parents.
More information is available here.
Additional Academic Roles
PI of the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment Lab (SoNeAt Lab) at the Centre for Brain Science, Department of Psychology, University of Essex
Associate Member of the Executive Board, Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS)
Please click on the icons below to access more information on Dr Pascal Vrticka’s website:
Dr Pascal Vrticka’s 2022 TEDx University of Essex Talk
The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment Lab (SoNeAt Lab): How to become involved (prospective students), current students & research topics, and student alumni & research topics
Description of the Special Interest Research Group (SIRG) on the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt) within SEAS
Dr Pascal Vrticka’s current and past teaching
The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment
Description of SoNeAt Lab’s main field of research
Special focus on fathers and the father-child relationship from a combined social neuroscience and attachment perspective
Experimental methods used within the SoNeAt Lab
International collaboration partners of the SoNeAt Lab
List of Dr Pascal Vrticka’s publications
Talks & Presentations
List of Dr Pascal Vrticka’s talks and other presentations – check out the recordings & posters available online
Grants & Awards
List of grants and Aawards Dr Pascal Vrticka has received
Dr Pascal Vrticka’s short biography & curriculum vitae
Dr Pascal Vrticka’s blog posts
Press reports about SoNeAt Lab’s research
Babygro Book for Parents
Free book for parents – including dads – based on Dr Vrticka’s functional neuro-anatomical model of human attachment (NAMA)