Polyvagal Theory

The Polyvagal Theory (gr. 'polus', “‘many’” + 'vagal', "'Vagus Nerve'") was proposed and developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, Director of the Brain-Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The theory specifies two functionally distinct branches of the vagus, or tenth cranial nerve. The branches of the vagal nerve serve different evolutionary stress responses in mammals: the more primitive branch elicits immobilization behaviors (e.g., feigning death), whereas the more evolved branch is linked to social communication and self-soothing behaviors. These functions follow a phylogenetic hierarchy, where the most primitive systems are activated only when the more evolved structures fail. These neural pathways regulate autonomic state and the expression of emotional and social behavior. Thus, according to this theory, physiological state dictates the range of behavior and psychological experience. Polyvagal theory has many implications for the study of stress, emotion, and social behavior, which has traditionally utilized more peripheral indices of arousal, such as heart rate and cortisol level. The measurement of vagal tone in humans has become a novel index of stress vulnerability and reactivity in many studies of populations with affective disorders, such as children with conduct problems and those suffering from borderline personality disorder.

Read more about Polyvagal TheoryPhylogenetic Subsystems/Stages, The Dorsal Vagal Complex, The Ventral Vagal Complex, Vagal Tone: A Physiological Marker of Stress, See Also, External Links

Other articles related to "polyvagal theory, polyvagal":

Polyvagal Theory - External Links
... The Polyvagal Theory The polyvagal theory phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system The Stephen Porges Info Site The originator of the Polyvagal theory "How your nervous system ...
Stephen Porges - The Polyvagal Theory
... The Polyvagal Theory introduces a new perspective relating autonomic function to behavior that includes an appreciation of the autonomic nervous system as a "system," the ... The polyvagal perspective explores new questions, paradigms, explanations, and conclusions regarding the role that autonomic function has in the regulation of affective states and social behavior ... Foremost, the polyvagal perspective emphasizes the importance of phylogenetic changes in the neural structures regulating the heart and how these ...

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