On Friday, December 15, 2017 the LFE Research Colloquium takes place at Leipzig University. Pascal Vrticka (Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences) will give a lecture.
“A Social Neuroscience Perspective on Attachment Theory: State of the Art and Future Directions”
Since its initial description by Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby, attachment theory has become one of the most influential and widely studied developmental psychological theoretical frameworks. Conceptualized as an evolutionary social defense strategy, its biological function is to enhance the chances of survival through proximity to significant others in times of distress and need. Due to such fundamental and universal biological function, almost all children will develop attachment bonds, but the quality of attachment can show significant inter-individual differences across the life-span, usually captured by secure versus insecure – anxious and/or avoidant – attachment styles.
In my talk, I will start with briefly outlining attachment theory and illustrate why, from an evolutionary point of view, attachment appears so important for the human species. I will then shortly comment on the important issue of cultural context within which attachment theory has emerged and has predominantly been studied. In the remainder of my talk, I will illustrate the state of the art of social (cognitive affective) neuroscience research devoted to gaining a better understanding of the role that secure and insecure attachment styles play in human development. To do so, I will present a social neuroscience model of attachment style and illustrate how attachment anxiety and avoidance – in contrast to attachment security – influence the neural processing of social approach versus aversion on an emotional level, as well as more cognitive mechanisms of emotion regulation and mental state representation in adults, adolescents, and children. I will conclude with discussing future directions of attachment research by showing a trend away from single-person towards dyadic experimental paradigms, and away from environmental versus genetic mechanisms towards a gene x environment interaction in terms of epigenetic processes, and mention some of the methodological challenges of such development.
When? Friday, December 15, 2017 | 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Where? Leipzig University, Marschnerstraße 31, House 3, Room 301 („Turmzimmer”), D-04109 Leipzig