The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation

The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation

by Stephen W. Porges


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A collection of groundbreaking research by a leading figure in neuroscience.

This book compiles, for the first time, Stephen W. Porges’s decades of research. A leading expert in developmental psychophysiology and developmental behavioral neuroscience, Porges is the mind behind the groundbreaking Polyvagal Theory, which has startling implications for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and autism. Adopted by clinicians around the world, the Polyvagal Theory has provided exciting new insights into the way our autonomic nervous system unconsciously mediates social engagement, trust, and intimacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393707007
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/25/2011
Series: Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology Series
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 267,104
Product dimensions: 6.26(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.24(d)

About the Author

Stephen W. Porges, PhD,is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Center within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anaesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. In 2018, Dr. Porges received the Pioneer Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword Bessel A. van der Kolk xi

Introduction: Why Is There a Polyvagal Theory? 1

Part I Theoretical Principles

1 Neuroception: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threat and Safety 11

2 Orienting in a Defensive World: Mammalian Modifications of Our Evolutionary Heritage. A Polyvagal Theory 20

3 The Polyvagal Theory: New Insights into Adaptive Reactions of the Autonomic Nervous System 52

Part II Biobehavioral Regulation During Early Development

4 Vagal Tone: A Physiological Marker of Stress Vulnerability 63

5 The Infant's Sixth Sense: Awareness and Regulation of Bodily Processes 75

6 Physiological Regulation in High-Risk Infants: A Model for Assessment and Potential Intervention 83

7 Infant Regulation of the Vagal "Brake" Predicts ChildBehavior Problems: A Psychobiological Model of Social Behavior 102

8 The Early Development of the Autonomic Nervous System Provides a Neural Platform for Social Behavior 118

Part III Social Communication and Relationships

9 Vagal Tone and the Physiological Regulation of Emotion 133

10 Emotion: An Evolutionary By-Product of the Neural Regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System 151

11 Love: An Emergent Property of the Mammalian Autonomic Nervous System 167

12 Social Engagement and Attachment: A Phylogenetic Perspective 186

13 The Polyvagal Hypothesis: Common Mechanisms Mediating Autonomic Regulation, Vocalizations, and Listening 202

Part IV Therapeutic and Clinical Perspectives

14 The Vagus: A Mediator of Behavioral and Physiological Features Associated With Autism 217

15 Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Regulation 226

16 Abuse History Is Related to Autonomic Regulation 238

17 Music Therapy, Trauma, and the Polyvagal Theory 246

Part V Social Behavior and Health

18 Reciprocal Influences Between Body and Brain in the Perception and Expression of Affect 257

19 Neurobiology and Evolution: Mechanisms, Mediators, and Adaptive Consequences of Caregiving 281

Epilogue 297

Credits 299

References 303

Index 331

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