“During the last two decades, interest in better understanding the biological and particularly brain basis of human attachment has steadily grown. This process led to the emergence of a new area of research at the interface of neuroscience and psychology, the social neuroscience of human attachment. Over the years, there have been many claims reflecting both an under- as well as over-estimation of the role of attachment across the life span. By combining state-of-the art neuroimaging methods to measure brain structure and function with assessment tools derived from attachment theory, part of the value of the social neuroscience of human attachment comes from its addition of empirical results to the field.”

Dr Pascal Vrticka contributed to the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) Attachment Guide with an entry on The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment on 25 January 2021. Please follow the above link to read more.

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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