Neurobiology of Human Attachments
Mothers, Fathers, Couples, and Friends
Parent-Child Relationship. In multiples studies we focus on mothering, fathering, coparenting, and family relationships in healthy families and in high-risk conditions stemming from parent (e.g., maternal depression, anxiety), child (prematurity, genetic risk) or context (trauma, stress). We developed a global rating system (Coding Interactive Behavior – CIB) and micro-level codes to describe parent-child synchrony. Several projects follow families from infancy to adulthood and describe how the parent-child relationship supports social development, well-being, and brain maturation over time.
Neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of Parenting: We explored parenting-related hormones, pioneering research on oxytocin in human parents, vasopressin, cortisol, testosterone, prolactin, secretory IgA, salivary alpha amylase, beta endorphin, and more.
Human parental brain. We pioneer research on the human parental brain, looking into the maternal and the paternal brain and the brain basis of primary-caregiving fathers.
Romantic relationships. Another focus of research involves romantic relationships. In several studies we addressed relational behavior, hormones, and brain functioning in romantic couples, including both early stage romantic love and long-term couple relationships.
Within our biobehavioral synchrony conceptual frame, we measure brain-to-brain synchrony, heart-rate synchrony, and endocrine fit and how these are anchored in behavioral coordination.