Polyvagal Theory Part 1: The Wandering Nerve

Danny Rahal

Danny is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UCLA. He received his B.S. in psychology and chemistry (biochemistry track) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Danny is interested in the social factors that influence adolescent health and stress responses, especially among minority and low-income youth.

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The polyvagal theory is a neurobiological theory relating social engagement, physiology, and developmental outcomes. When I was first learning the theory, I struggled to understand some of the theory’s basic terms and could not find a resource that simplified it. Therefore, this three–part series of articles is intended to serve as an introduction to the theory. In this article I will introduce the physiology behind stress. In the second I’ll discuss specific stress responses, and…

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