Dr Pascal Vrticka (PhD, FHEA)

Dr Pascal Vrticka (PhD, FHEA)

Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Psychology

Short Bio

Dr Pascal Vrticka is a social neuroscientist with strong ties to developmental & social psychology.

He currently is an Assistant Professor / Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Essex (Colchester, UK).

Dr Vrticka held previous positions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany), Stanford School of Medicine (California, USA), and University of Geneva (Geneva, Switzerland). A complete CV is available here.

Academic Roles

Dr Vrticka is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt) Lab.

He also is the Coordinating Board President of the Special Interest Research Group on the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SIRG SoNeAt) within the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS), where he also is an associate member of the coordinating board.

Dr Vrticka also is a trustee of the UK Charity Babygro.


Dr Pascal Vrticka’s research focuses on the psychological, behavioural, biological, and brain basis of human social interaction, attachment, and caregiving. He is advancing a new area of research: the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt).

Dr Vrticka combines traditional attachment tools with state-of-the-art social neuroscience methods, particularly (f)MRI, EEG and fNIRS hyperscanning, most recently with a special focus on parent-child interaction including fathers.

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Last name pronunciation: pas.kal  vr – cɪ t͡ʃ – ka 

Digital Business Card

Recent Highlights

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TEDx Talk
Caring Dads: The Making of Involved and Confident Fathers

On May 14th 2022, Dr Pascal Vrticka participated in the TEDx University of Essex event and gave a talk on “Caring Dads: The Making of Involved and Confident Fathers”. You can now watch the recording on YouTube.

Caring Dads Website Section
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.

Babygro Book for Parents
Evidence-based information in an accessible format

How do our babies’ brains develop, and how does responsive communication between parent and baby lead to later life (mental) health and wellbeing? The Babygro Book for Parents is based on Dr Vrticka’s research and theory. Available online (free) and in print (£10) here.

Is your brain securely attached?
A social neuroscience perspective on attachment

Do you want to read a concise and accessible summary of the social neuroscience of human attachment? Then this series is made for you! So far, there are two posts available – Volume 2 published on 07 December 2022 and Volume 1 published on 19 May 2022.

The link between attachment, energy conservation and co-regulation
Newest theory as part of the social neuroscience of human attachment (SoNeAt)

How are attachment, social connection and energy conservation through social allostasis all linked to one another? Check out this accessible summary of our newest theory as part of SoNeAt.

Website Menu

Please click on icon for more information

TEDx Talk

Dr Pascal Vrticka’s 2022 TEDx
University of Essex Talk

SoNeAt Lab

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

Caring Dads

The social neuroscience of attachment & caregiving in fathers

Research Methods

Experimental methods used within
the SoNeAt Lab

Collaboration Partners

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

Curriculum Vitae

Dr Pascal Vrticka’s short biography & curriculum vitae


Dr Pascal Vrticka’s blog posts


Press reports and other outlets 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)

Latest Tweets

Latest Blog Posts

Attachment theory: what people get wrong about pop psychology’s latest trend for explaining relationships

In his newest post for The Conversation UK, Dr Vrticka looks into the recent confusion surrounding attachment theory. Unfortunately, since its development by John Bowlby about 70 years ago, several parallel versions of attachment theory emerged within many different domains (developmental and social psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry as well as child welfare practice, etc.), with little…

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Are Dads Wired Differently – The Truth About Becoming A Dad

Dr Pascal Vrticka is very happy to share his most recent blog post for Dadvengers: Are Dads Wired Differently – The Truth About Becoming A Dad. Many thanks for giving me the unique opportunity to write about this very important and timely issue.In Dr Vrticka’s blog post, he describes the most recent social neuroscience research on human fatherhood and what it means for…

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Why Attachment Matters in Social Neuroscience

Dr Pascal Vrticka has written a new blog post for Scottish Attachment in Action, a UK registered charity since 2015 with a Board of Trustees consisting of practitioners, parents and carers that represent their mission that ‘Attachment Matters for All’.In his blog post, Dr Vrticka explains the growing interest in better understanding the neurobiological underpinnings…

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Auf der gleichen Wellenlänge – verstehen sich Eltern und Kinder besser durch Gleichklang im Gehirn?

Wir lassen uns oft vom Verhalten anderer „anstecken“ – klassische Beispiele dafür sind Gähnen oder Lachen. Neue Forschungsergebnisse zeigen auf, dass eine solche „Ansteckung“ sogar im Gehirn beobachtet werden kann. Modernste bildgebende Verfahren offenbaren, dass Gleichklang im Gehirn für das Verstehen anderer wichtig ist, und das bereits im Kindesalter. In diesem Artikel beschreiben wir, wie…

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