SoNeAt Lab

Where we are

The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment Lab (SoNeAt Lab) is located at the Centre for Brain Science, Department of Psychology, University of Essex (Colchester, UK). PI: Dr Pascal Vrticka.

What we do

SoNeAt Lab’s principal line of investigation is devoted to examining the social neuroscience of human attachment, and to translate the obtained findings into theoretical models – such as the functional neuro-anatomical models of organised and disorganised / disrupted attachment (NAMA and NAMDA).

How we do it

The SoNeAt Lab combines traditional attachment tools with state-of-the-art social neuroscience methods, particularly (f)MRI, EEG and fNIRS hyperscanning, most recently with a special focus on parent-child interaction including fathers.

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Most Recent Studies within & in association with the SoNeAt Lab

TRIO Study: In 2023, a new interdisciplinary and multi-method study on triadic interactions within families will be conducted at the Department of Psychology, University of Essex (Colchester, UK).

Briefly summarised, the TRIO Study will investigate behavioural, physiological and interpersonal neural synchrony in mums, dads and kids. These data will be complemented by narrative and self-report data obtained from both parents and children.

More information will be made available in due time.


ARC Study: From 2020 to present, another interdisciplinary and multi-method study on stress resonance in romantic couples is being conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, in collaboration with several other institutions.

Briefly summarised, the ARC study assesses how stress in one relationship partner is resonated within another observing relationship partner on the behavioural, hormonal, physiological as well as interpersonal neural synchrony level. It also includes a narrative measure of attachment in the observing relationship partner as well as self-report measures of attachment and other personality traits in both partners.

Data acquisition has now concluded and data analysis is underway.


CARE Studies: During 2017-2020, a series of three interdisciplinary and multi-method studies (CARE, D-CARE, and M-CARE) was set up at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, in collaboration with several other institutions.

Briefly summarised, the CARE studies investigated mother- and father-child interactions by combining behavioural observations, parental self-reports, semi-structured interviews in parents and children, structural and functional brain scans in parents as well as fNIRS hyperscanning data in parent-child dyads. The data is still being analysed.

More detailed information can be found here.


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