The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment

The principal line of investigation in my research is devoted to examining the psychological, behavioral, biological, physiological, and neural basis of human attachment – or in short: the social neuroscience of human attachment.

In so doing, I am referring to attachment by means of inter-individual differences in (“organized”) secure versus insecure, anxious and avoidant attachment orientations / classifications. More recently, I also started to consider disorganized attachment and its putative biological and neural substrates. In addition, I am interested in inter-individual differences in attachment-related constructs in the context of caregiving and parent-child interaction, such as parental sensitivity, reflective functioning, behavioral reciprocity, etc. Last but not least, my research also considers relationship quality more broadly.

To obtain an idea why I think such research is important, please refer to my blog on the Evolution of the “social brain” in humans: what are the benefits and costs of belonging to a social species? as well as 21st Century Attachment Theory and Research: Embracing a Social Neuroscience Approach.

Some of the articles and book chapters in association with my attachment research are described in more detail in the sections outlined below. All of them can be found on the publications page of my website, and/or under my ResearchGate project “Human Attachment: Elucidating the underlying Psychological, Behavioral, Biological, Physiological, and Neural Basis“.

In addition to the above, the section CARE studies contains a dedicated description (and discussion of results) of our most recent series of three collaborative interdisciplinary studies on the social neuroscience of attachment and caregiving in parent-child dyads.

The remaining sections of this research topic are organized as follows:

CARE Studies
Attachment Theory
A Functional Neuro-Anatomical Model of Human Attachment (NAMA) 
The Neural Substrates of Attachment in Adolescents
The Neural Substrates of Attachment in Parents and Children
Attachment & Bio-Behavioral Synchrony in Dyads
The Genetics and Epigenetics of Attachment
Longitudinal Attachment Research


ALERT: Special Issue on “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment”

As one activity of the newly formed Special Interest Research Group (SIRG) on “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt)” within the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS) – see here -, I am guest-editing a special issue on “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment” in the journal Attachment and Human Development. To be published in 2020, this special issue will comprise a selection of state-of-the-art social neuroscience work in association with attachment theory. More information can be found here.