Professor Stephen Porges

Professor Stephen Porges

Stephen Porges is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Brain-Body Center in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds appointments in the Departments of Psychology, BioEngineering, and Anatomy and Cell Biology.

In 2012 Porges joined RTI International in North Carolina, while continuing to hold his professorship at Chicago.[1] Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Porges served as Chair of the Department of Human Development and Director of the Institute for Child Study. He is a former President of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been President of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, a consortium of societies representing approximately 20,000 biobehavioral scientists.

He was a recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has chaired the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maternal and Child Health Research Committee and was a visiting scientist in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Laboratory of Comparative Ethology. He was awarded a patent on a methodology to describe neural regulation of the heart.

Porges is a neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the neurobiology of social behavior. His research crosses disciplines and he has published in 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 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 including autism and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma.

His numerous papers include

  • Attachment and Bonding: A New Synthesis (1995) Cambridge: Press
  • Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A Polyvagal Theory (1998) Psychophysiology, 32, 301-318
  • Love: An emergent property of the mammalian autonomic nervous system (2003) Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23, 837-861
  • Social engagement and attachment: A phylogenetic perspective. (2007) Roots of Mental Illness in Children, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1008, 31-47
  • The Polyvagal Perspective. (2007) Biological Psychology, 74, 116-143

Brain-Body Center – University of Illinois at Chicago

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Online Modules

Past and Current Confer Events


The Psychotherapeutic Challenge Of Understanding And Working With Intimacy – A multi-Disciplinary Conference
19 & 20 June 2009



Allan N. Schore, PhD (2019) Right Brain Psychotherapy W.W.Norton


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