BMe Research Grant
In the research project, we examine the correlations between adult attachment and different attachment styles with facial perception mechanisms, through which it may be possible to understand the different cognitive processes behind the attachment styles more accurately. We use questionnaires, conduct behavioral tests, and eye movement and EEG registration to examine the differences in facial perceptions between individuals of different attachment styles in a neurotypical adult population, and to assess possible behavioral changes following intranasal oxytocin administration.
The research takes place at the Department of Cognitive Science of BUTE (for detailed information see arclabor.com). Our experiments involve questionnaires, behavioral, psychophysiological and electrophysiological (EEG) methods, as well as eye-tracking to examine the neurotypical population. Our investigations aim to explore the relationship between attachment and facial perception mechanisms.
Research subjects are usually recruited through an online questionnaire, where respondents can also provide their contact information at the end of the questionnaire if they wish to participate in our experiments.
At the beginning of each experiment, we assess the attachment style of the subjects using the ECR (Experiences in Close Relationships; Brennan et al., 1998) questionnaire. (By clicking the link and filling out the questionnaire, you will also receive a short evaluation and explanation of the score achieved). Based on the ECR scores, subjects can be divided into groups along the dimensions of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, which division is necessary to interpret the results of the experiment in the context of attachment. Two types of division are typically used in the literature: on the one hand, we can divide subjects into secure, anxious and avoidant categories along the dimensions of anxiety and avoidance, or, alternatively, as a fourth group we can separate individuals who score high on both the anxiety and avoidance scales: they can be characterized as “disorganized-disoriented” regarding their attachment style. In our previous studies, we used the latter 4-category subdivision to more accurately distinguish patterns characteristic of different attachment styles.
In addition to determining their attachment style, subjects are also assessed for state and trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI-S and STAI-T questionnaires; Spielberger et al., 1983) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI questionnaire; Beck & Beck, 1972), which may be influencing factors (cofactors) in the interpretation of experimental results.
The SMI RED500 (SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH) and the accompanying iViewX program are used to record eye movement, and BeGaze 2.1.152 and MATLAB 2014a (Mathworks, Natick, MA, USA) are used for fixation analysis. Stimulus presentation is provided by MATLAB 2008a (Mathworks, Natick, MA, USA), using Psychtoolbox 3.0.9 (Brainard, 1997; Pelli, 1997) and custom scripts.
The combination of our eye-tracking experimental paradigm (see in the Current results section) with EEG measurement and oxytocin treatment is still in progress; I would like to implement this during the first 2 years of my doctoral studies.
Statistical analysis of our results is conducted with IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0.0 (IBM Co.).
Figure 1: Facial stimuli used in the experiments (example). The image shows the two endpoints (20% sad, 20% happy) and the transitions between them, with the neutral element in the middle. Face stimuli were derived from the Radboud Faces Database (Langner et al., 2010).
Presentations at conferences:
Suri, K., Németh, K. (2020) A kötődési stílusok és az érzelmi arc-emlékezet kapcsolatának vizsgálata neurotipikus felnőtt mintán. (Magyar Pszichiátriai Társaság XXIII. Jubileumi Vándorgyűlése, Budapest, 2020. 01. 22–25.) - presentation
ECR (Experiences in Close Relationships questionnaire)
STAI-S és STAI-T (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire)
BDI (Beck Depression Inventory questionnaire)
● Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: Assessed in the Strange Situation and at home. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
● Beck, A. T., & Beck, R. W. (1972). Screening Depressed Patients in Family Practice. Postgraduate Medicine, 52(6), 81–85. doi:10.1080/00325481.1972.11713319
● Bodford, J. E., Kwan, V. S. Y., & Sobota, D. S. (2017). Fatal Attractions: Attachment to Smartphones Predicts Anthropomorphic Beliefs and Dangerous Behaviors. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(5), 320–326. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0500
● Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. New York: Basic Books. (2nd ed published in 1982)
● Brennan, K. A., Clark, C. L., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Self-report measurement of adult romantic attachment: An integrative overview. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 46–76). New York: Guilford Press.
● Buchheim, A., Heinrichs, M., George, C., Pokorny, D., Koops, E., Henningsen, P., O’Connor, M-F., Gündel, H. (2009). Oxytocin enhances the experience of attachment security. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(9), 1417-1422. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.04.002
● Guastella, A. J., Mitchell, P. B., & Dadds, M. R. (2008). Oxytocin Increases Gaze to the Eye Region of Human Faces. Biological Psychiatry, 63(1), 3–5. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.06.026
● Langner, O., Dotsch, R., Bijlstra, G., Wigboldus, D. H. J., Hawk, S. T., & van Knippenberg, A. (2010). Presentation and validation of the Radboud Faces Database. Cogn Emot, 24(8), 1377-1388. doi:10.1080/02699930903485076
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● Meyer, B., Pilkonis, P. A., & Beevers, C. G. (2004). What’s in a (Neutral) Face? Personality Disorders, Attachment Styles, and the Appraisal of Ambiguous Social Cues. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18(4), 320–336. doi:10.1521/pedi.2004.18.4.320
● Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press.
● Schurgin, M. W., Nelson, J., Iida, S., Ohira, H., Chiao, J. Y., & Franconeri, S. L. (2014). Eye movements during emotion recognition in faces. Journal of Vision, 14(13), 1–16. doi:10.1167/14.13.14
● Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., Lushene, R., Vagg, P. R., & Jacobs, G. A. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
● Tang, Q., Chen, X., Hu, J., & Liu, Y. (2017). Priming the Secure Attachment Schema Affects the Emotional Face Processing Bias in Attachment Anxiety: An fMRI Research. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00624
● Tops, M., Koole, S. L., IJzerman, H., Buisman-Pijlman, F. T. A. (2014). Why social attachment and oxytocin protect against addiction and stress: Insights from the dynamics between ventral and dorsal corticostriatal systems. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior (119), 39-48. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.07.015
Zheng, M., Zhang, Y., Zheng, Y. (2015). The effects of attachment avoidance and the defensive regulation of emotional faces: Brain potentials examining the role of preemptive and postemptive strategies. Attachment & Human Development 17(1), 96–110. doi: 10.1080/14616734.2014.995191