Attachment Style and Brain Activity in Adolescents

July 31, 2014 10:15 PM

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Adolescence is a critical time period during human social-emotional development. It is generally associated with changes in teenagers' brain structure and function, as well as behavior. There is, however, also a major environmental change occurring during adolescence that is less frequently mentioned in this context, namely the separation of adolescents from their family. During teenage years, time spent with family members drops while time spent with people outside the family context (e.g., peers, work colleagues, romantic partners, etc.) increases. This social-adaptation process requires adolescents not only to integrate new and diverse experiences in relation to the world and themselves but to resolve many disagreements and interpersonal conflicts. In a nutshell, one of the central developmental tasks teenagers are confronted with is the establishment of an accurate understanding of their changing social environment.

Being a social neuroscientist particularly interested in human attachment behavior and attachment style, one of my research goals is to better understand the neural underpinnings of the above-described social-adaptation process in adolescents from an attachment-theory perspective. In other words, I ...

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