Interview with Stephen Porges and Sue Carter

07 Marzo 2011
  • Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D, 

He is Professor of Psychiatry and BioEngineering atthe University of Illinois at Chicago, where he directs the Brain-Body Center.  Dr. Porges is a neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the neurobiology of social engagement. His research focuses on how the autonomic nervous system relates to adaptive behavior, state regulation, and social engagement strategies. His research crosses disciplines and he has published in such diverse disciplines as
anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology,
space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the vertebrate autonomic nervous system to the emergence of social behavior. The theory provides insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders including autism, depression, ADD, PTSD, and schizophrenia. His research is leading to new protocols to assess clinical disorders and innovative interventions designed
to stabilize behavioral and psychological states and to stimulate spontaneous social behavior. Dr. Porges is former President of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

  • C. Sue Carter, PhD 

She is Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director of The Brain Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dr. Carter studies
the neurobiology of socio-emotional behaviors, including social bonds and parental behavior.  Research by Dr. Carter and her colleagues established the prairie vole as a model for examining the neurobiology of monogamy. Her work also led to the discovery that oxytocin and vasopressin can program the
developing nervous system with life-long consequences for brain and behavior.  She is currently involved in collaborative research examining the
role of oxytocin and vasopressin in mental illnesses including schizophrenia and autism. She has authored over 250 articles and edited 5 volumes
including “Attachment and Bonding: A New Synthesis” (MIT Press, 2006). Dr. Carter has served as President of the International Behavioral Neuroscience
Society, and was recipient of a Research Career Scientist Award from NIH.



Speakers: Stephen Porges and Sue Carter

  • Stephen Porges is in this interview talking about his development from research in psychophysiology to his current work, research on heart rate variability, the background for the polyvagal theory, neuroception, how the polyvagal theory can explain parasympathetic responses in threatening situations, how different kind of human deaths might be the result of these reactions and about muscular pain.
  • Sue Carter is talking about her background as a biologist, her research on social and reproductive behaviour, the development in the field of social neuroscience, the imprtance and function of Oxytocin, artificial use of Oxytocin generally and in in clinical populations, and her thoughts about the future studies on Oxytocin.

The interview was done on October 25th, 2010, and the interviewer is Clinical Psychologist and ESTD board member Arne Blindheim.

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