Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment

Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment (SoNeAt)

Background

How can we measure attachment?

Attachment arises from a complex interplay between psychological, behavioural, biological, and brain processes.

It can be measured by traditional attachment tools like behavioural observation, interviews and self-reports.

Attachment can also be measured by social neuroscience methods like physiology (e.g., heart rate), endocrinology (e.g., cortisol or oxytocin secretion) and neuroimaging (brain activation, structure and connectivity).

Purpose

Why do we need SoNeAt?

Social neuroscience data not only adds value but is necessary to fully understand the complex nature of attachment.

A social neuroscience perspective to attachment matters – without it, we are missing several important pieces of the puzzle.

We also need to make sure that we all use the same attachment language. SoNeAt can help providing a common scientific basis and terminology for fruitful discussions across fields.

Research

How does SoNeAt work?

Social neuroscience methods provide objective data obtained from single individuals or interacting dyads.

This data can then be used to formulate theory, such as the functional neuro-anatomical models of organised and disorganised attachment – NAMA and NAMDA.

Dr Vrticka‘s SoNeAt Lab and SIRG SoNeAt are leading in this approach, promoting a new area of research: the social neuroscience of human attachment (SoNeAt).


Please check the content below to learn more about the SoNeAt. You will find lists of 1) recent blog posts & other resources, 2) recent talks available online to explore and 3) all available resources and topics as part of this section of Dr Vrticka’s website. Finally, you will find a contact form to get in touch with Dr Pascal Vrticka in case of questions or comments.


1) Recent Blog Posts & Other Resources (for a complete list, see here)

Please click on image on the left for more information

Is your Brain Securely Attached?

Do you want to read a concise and accessible summary of the social neuroscience of human attachment? Then this series about “Is your brain securely attached? A social neuroscience perspective on attachment” is made for you! So far, there are two posts available – Volume 2 published on 07 December 2022 and Volume 1 published on 19 May 2022.

Confusion about Attachment Language

In his latest piece for The Conversation UK, Dr Vrticka writes about “Attachment theory: what people get wrong about pop psychology’s latest trend for explaining relationships“. Excellent resources to avoid further confusion about attachment language have been provided by the Society for Emotion and Attachment Studies (SEAS) by means of a free online guide. More posts, including many blog entries relating to various aspects of Dr Vrticka’s research can be accessed here.

What about Dads?

Dr Vrticka wrote a blog post for Dadvengers about the social neuroscience of attachment and caregiving in fathers: “Are Dads Wired Differently – The Truth About Becoming A Dad“. More detailed information and additional resources are available in the website section “Caring Dads“.

Free Book for Parents

The UK Charity Babygro has recently published their Babygro Book for parents, based on Dr Vrticka’s work on the social neuroscience of human attachment. It can be accessed freely here. The book is a great resource for new parents and illustrates in pictures rather than words how our babies’ brains develop and how responsive communication between parent and baby leads to later life (mental) health and wellbeing.

Attachment Theory & Social Neuroscience – Why?

A summary of attachment theory from a social neuroscientist’s perspective can be found here. This includes the recently formulated functional neuro-anatomical models of organised and disorganised attachment – NAMA and NAMDA. A short and accessible summary on “Why attachment matters in social neuroscience” can be found in Dr Vrticka’s blog post for Scottish Attachment in Action (SAIA).

Attachment, energy conservation and co-regulation through social allostasis

Our new introduction article to the special issue on the social neuroscience of human attachment is now published online. It provides the latest theory on the neurobiology of attachment in association with energy conservation by means of co-regulation / social allostasis. And it outlines the key research gaps that we hope will inspire future research agenda for SoNeAt.


2) Recent Talks Available Online (for a complete list, see here)

Please click on image on the left for more information

TEDx University of Essex 2022 Talk “Caring Dads: The Making of Involved and Confident Fathers presented by Dr Vrticka on May 14, 2022 at the TEDx event “Are you paying attention?”. More resources on the social neuroscience of attachment & caregiving in fathers are available here.

Invited Virtual Keynote “Is your brain securely attached? A social neuroscience perspective on attachment” presented by Dr Vrticka at the British Association for Community Child Health (BACCH) Annual Scientific Meeting 2022 on September 20, 2022.

Invited Virtual Event: “Why attachment matters in social neuroscience” presented by Dr Vrticka for Scottish Attachment in Action (SAIA) on September 01, 2022. Due to a slight issue with the presentation recording, some slide content is not always visible. Slides can therefore be separately downloaded here. The accompanying blog post is available here.

Invited Keynote Lecture “Attachment Theory Revisited – A 21st Century Social Neuroscience Perspective” presented by Dr Vrticka at the 23rd Psychology Days in Zadar, Croatia on May 26, 2022.

Invited Virtual Keynote “Are we on the same wavelength? Individual differences in interpersonal neural synchrony” presented by Dr Vrticka at the Affect, Personality and the Embodied Brain (APE) 2022 Meeting on September 22, 2022.


3) All Available Topics & Resources

Please click on icon for more information

CARE Studies

Series of 3 studies on parent-child interaction, attachment, and caregiving

Attachment Theory

A social neuroscientist’s perspective of attachment theory

NAMA & NAMDA

Functional neuro-anatomical models of human attachment

Attachment in Adolescence

SoNeAt Lab’s research on the neural substrates of attachment in adolescence

Attachment in Children and Parents

SoNeAt Lab’s research on the neural substrates of attachment in children and parents. For specific content on dads, please click here.

Caring Dads

The social neuroscience of attachment & caregiving in fathers

Bio-Behavioural Synchrony & Inter-Brain Coherence

SoNeAt Lab’s research on bio-behavioural synchrony & inter-brain coherence

Genetics & Epigenetics of Attachment

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

Longitudinal Attachment Research

SoNeAt Lab’s involvement in longitudinal attachment research

Attachment Disruption and Disorganisation

SoNeAt Lab’s research on abuse, neglect, and emotional maltreatment as well as disorganised attachment


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.

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