Neuroception: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety
At A Glance
• Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish
whether situations or people are safe, dangerous,
or life threatening.
• Neuroception explains why a baby coos at a caregiver
but cries at a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys
a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger
as an assault.
• The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental
stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system:
Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication
or social engagement.
• Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several
psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia,
anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive