Attachment Neuroscience Psychology

What is Attachment? A Social Neuroscience Perspective

“From a social neuroscience perspective, there are two key principles associated with human attachment behaviours: i) conserving energy resources and ii) making predictions about available support and how costly it is to obtain it. These two key principles are intrinsically linked with one another.”

A blog post with the title “What is Attachment? A Social Neuroscience Perspective” by Dr Pascal Vrticka was published by Cattanach, a private charitable funder for early years work in Scotland, on 05 April 2021. It can be accessed here.

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. Besides measuring neurobiological responses to different kinds of social versus non-social information in single participants using (functional) magnetic resonance imaging ([f]MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), Dr Vrticka most recently started to assess bio-behavioural synchrony in interacting pairs using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning. The main question thereby is how romantic partners and parents with their children get “in sync” when they solve problems together or talk to each other. Dr Vrticka furthermore relates the obtained individual and dyadic behavioural, biological, and brain measures to interindividual differences in relationship quality – particularly attachment and caregiving. In doing so, he refers to attachment theory that provides a suitable theoretical framework on how we initiate and maintain interpersonal relationships across the life span. With his research, Dr Vrticka is promoting a new field of investigation: the social neuroscience of human attachment.

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