The Neurobiology of Social Bonding and Attachment

C. Sue Carter and Stephen W. Porges

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Neurobiology of Social Bonding and Attachment

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology


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Sociality is characterized by interactions between two or more individuals. These interactions may be either negative or positive. Negative social behaviors include agonistic or aggressive interactions. Positive social interactions include both nonselective social aggregations and gregarious behavior and selective social interactions and pair bonds. This chapter highlights our current understanding of the neurobiology of social interactions, including those selective behaviors that are necessary for the formation and expression of social bonds.

Keywords: social behavior; social attachment; maternal behavior; social isolation; autonomic nervous system; parasympathetic nervous system; vagus; oxytocin; vasopressin; corticotropin releasing factor (CRF); adrenal hormones; cortisol/corticosterone; sex differenc

Article.  9231 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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