Mittwoch, 03. Juli 2019, 13:15 - 14:30 iCal

Einladung zum Gastvortrag

„The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment: State-of-the-Art and Future Directions“

von Dr. Pascal Vrticka (PhD), Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften, Leipzig

Fakultät für Psychologie, HS G, 2. Stock der linken Stiege
Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Wien


Since its first description about seventy years ago by Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby, Attachment Theory has become one of the most prominent contemporary developmental psychology frameworks. It suggests that early interactions between infants and their caregiver(s) lead to the formation of attachment-derived internal working models (IWMs) that comprise particular representations of the self and others. These IWMs are, in turn, suggested to influence social cognitive and affective processing and thereby the way we initiate and maintain social relationships across the life span. Social neuroscience data on the putative biological and brain basis of human attachment, however, has only started to emerge recently.

In my presentation, I will first describe the central elements of an attachment interaction by means of a prototypical initial attachment pathway. I will then present a functional neuro-anatomical model of human attachment based on this attachment pathway, composed of an emotional mentalization system comprising an aversion and an approach module, as well as a cognitive mentalization system comprising an emotion regulation and a mental state representation module. Subsequently, I will show evidence on how a secure versus avoidant attachment orientation influences the functioning of above-described systems and modules on an anatomical, functional, as well as epigenetic level from social neuroscience data mainly obtained in adults. Finally, I will argue that social neuroscience research concerning human attachment needs to transition from first-person to second-person techniques, comprising the investigation of bio-behavioral synchrony during direct interaction. I will substantiate this point by showing new data on inter-brain coherence during cooperation in mother-infant dyads measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning, and provide first possible links between inter-brain coherence and child attachment towards the mother.



Fakultät für Psychologie; Institut für Angewandte Psychologie: Gesundheit, Entwicklung und Förderung


Ass.Prof. Dr. Giorgia Silani
Institut für Angewandte Psychologie: Gesundheit, Entwicklung und Förderung
AB Klinische Psychologie des Erwachsenenalters