This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.


Polyvagal Theory, Oxytocin, and the Neurobiology of Love

Seminar Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences Seminar Series

Stephen W. Porges, PhD and C. Sue Carter, PhD

Professors of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina

Polyvagal theory, oxytocin, and the neurobiology of love: Using the body's social engagement system to promote recovery from experiences of threat, stress and trauma


Dr. Porges is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as at the University of Maryland. He has published more than 200 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, as well as many others. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, 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. The theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma.

Dr. Sue Carter is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Research Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. She is Professor Emerita of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has formerly held the position of Distinguished University Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland and prior to that was Professor in the Departments of Ecology, Ethology and Evolution and in Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Carter is past president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and holds fellow status in that Society and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has authored over 275 publications, including editorship of 5 books. Research from Dr. Carter’s laboratory documented the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in social bond formation. Her most recent work focuses on the developmental consequences of oxytocin, including perinatal exposure to synthetic oxytocin, and the protective role of this peptide in the regulation of behavioral and autonomic reactivity to stressful experiences.


Center for Excellence in Neurosciences


12:00 PM
Alfond Room 304

Biddeford Campus

Free and open to the public