Attachment Brain Imaging Cooperation fNIRS Neuroscience Parent-Child Interaction Psychology

Securely Connected – How Mums and Dads Get “In Sync” With Their Kids

Recent technical advances now allow us to test two (or more) participants simultaneously – using so-called “hyperscanning” – during naturally unfolding social interactions. These new developments are particularly important for the social neuroscience of human attachment. After all, attachment is an interpersonal process from the very beginning. What is even more exciting is that by employing “hyperscanning”, we can investigate how the interacting individuals get “in sync” with one another. In other words, we can see how their bodies and brains engage in a mutual “social dance”.

A blog post with the title “Securely Connected – How Mums and Dads Get “In Sync” With Their Kids” by Dr Pascal Vrticka was published by Cattanach, a private charitable funder for early years work in Scotland, on 20 May 2021. It can be accessed here.

Another blog post for Cattanach with the title “What is Attachment? A Social Neuroscience Perspective” is furthermore available 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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