The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment




The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment

The principal line of investigation in Dr Pascal Vrticka’s research is devoted to examining the psychological, behavioural, biological, physiological, and neural basis of human attachment. In doing so, he is referring to attachment by means of inter-individual differences in (“organized”) secure versus insecure, anxious and avoidant attachment orientations / classifications. More recently, Dr Vrticka also started to consider disorganized attachment and its putative biological and neural substrates. In addition, he is interested in inter-individual differences in attachment-related constructs in the context of caregiving and parent-child interaction, such as parental sensitivity, reflective functioning, behavioural reciprocity, etc. Last but not least, Dr Vrticka’s research also considers relationship quality more broadly.

To obtain an idea why Dr Vrticka thinks such research is important, please refer to his blogs 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.

Interested individuals can also now re-watch a keynote (duration approx. 45 minutes) on the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment delivered by Dr Vrticka online as part of the SoNeAt Workshop 2020 in August 2020.

Some of the articles and book chapters in association with Dr Vrticka’s attachment research are described in more detail in the sections outlined below. All of them can be found on the publications page of his website, and/or under his 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.


Topic Content

Latest series of 3 CARE studies on parent-child interaction

Short introduction to attachment theory

Functional neuro-anatomical models of human attachment: NAM(D)A

SoNeAt Lab’s research on attachment in adolescence

Research on attachment in children and parents

Research on bio-behavioural synchrony & inter-brain coherence

SoNeAt Lab’s research on the genetics and epigenetics of attachment

SoNeAt Lab’s research involvement in longitudinal attachment research


Special Features

Virtual Conference Workshop – 70 Years of Attachment Research: A Multidisciplinary Social Neuroscience Perspective

Together with the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS), we organised a virtual conference workshop with the title “70 Years of Attachment Research: A Multidisciplinary Social Neuroscience Perspective” on August 12-13, 2020.

Conference Features:
►8 Keynotes by experts within the field
►10 plenary oral presentations by ECRs
►19 posters by ECRs
►Recording of keynotes & plenary oral presentations for asynchronous viewing
►Virtual socialising

Key Dates:
►Virtual poster presentation submissions are now closed
►Notification of abstract acceptance: now out
►Registration is now closed
►Workshop: 12th – 13th August 2020

The preliminary conference schedule can be downloaded here. For more information, please see the official conference website.

A summary of the workshop can be found here.

Special Issue on “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment”

As one activity of the Special Interest Research Group (SIRG) on the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt) within the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS) – see here -, Dr Pascal Vrticka is guest-editing a special issue on “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment” in the journal Attachment and Human Development. To be published in 2020/21, 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.


Contact Form

Please use the contact form below to get in touch with Dr Vrticka if you have any questions about the Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment.