Neuropsychology of Attachment Styles – Mapping J.A. Gray’s RST onto the Attachment Model

For citation
KovalevI.A.(2020) Model’trevogi Dzh.A.Greya kak neirofiziologicheskaya podopleka stilei privyazannosti  9(4A),pp.5565.DOI: 10.34670/AR.2020.37.16.006.



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Conceptual framework of the attachment theory is widely accepted and relied upon by researchers and practitioners in the fields of social and clinical psychology, while its neural underpinnings remain poorly understood. Socio-psychological attachment model identifies four patterns of close emotional relationships (attachment styles). Anxiety and avoidance are the two orthogonal factors underlying the variance between the attachment styles. These same factors are also central to J.A.Gray’s neuropsychological model of anxiety and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS).

In this paper J.A. Gray’s RST model is mapped onto the two-dimensional model of attachment in order to elucidate the neural underpinnings of the differences between attachment styles. The resulting integrative model suggests the following:

1    Attachment anxiety results from BIS activation which is triggered by the hippocampus, when it detects one the two neural conflicts described by Gray.

2    Attachment styles characterized by the high anxiety levels  (anxious-preoccupied and disorganized) can be differentiated by the type of neural conflict that triggers BIS activation;

3    Anxious attachment results from a conflict (mismatch) between the top-down cognitive and the bottom-up sensory information flows;

4    Attachment disorganization originates from a conflict between approach and avoidance response tendencies associated with competing goals that are simultaneously activated in connection with an attachment figure.

The proposed model offers new therapeutic strategies and ways to improve the efficacy of the existing ones.
Practical implications of the model are briefly discussed and their consistency with current clinical approaches considered. In conclusion the paper suggests methods for further research on the role of the hippocampus and the BIS/BAS in formation and manifestation of the different attachment styles.

FULL TEXT (English)

FULL TEXT (Russian)

For citation
KovalevI.A.(2020) Model’trevogi Dzh.A.Greya kak neirofiziologicheskaya podopleka stilei privyazannosti [J.A.Gray’s model of anxiety as a neurophysiological background of attachment styles]. Psikhologiya. Istorikokriticheskie obzory i sovremennye issledovaniya [Psychology. Historicalcritical Reviews and Current Researches], 9(4A),pp.5565.DOI: 10.34670/AR.2020.37.16.006.



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