Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Brain-Body Center, in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He currently is the scientific director of the Center for Advanced Research in Behavioral Neurobiology, a new interdisciplinary translational research center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a behavioral neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the autonomic nervous system and the evolution of emotion. He has extensive research experience in human development, but also collaborates with scientists in such diverse disciplines as anesthesiology, critical care medicine, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, and drug abuse. During the past decade he has developed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that 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. He is developing new paradigms to test biologically based behavioral interventions designed to stabilize behavioral and psychological states and to stimulate spontaneous social behavior. The former President of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Social Sciences and the Society for Psychophysiological Research, he received his Ph.D. in 1970 from Michigan State University. From 1975-1985 he was a recipient of a NIMH Research Scientist Development Award. From 1985-2001, he was a Professor of Human Development and Psychology at the University of Maryland – College Park and served as Chair of the Department of Human Development and Director of the Institute for Child Study from 1998-2001. From 1985-2001, Dr. Porges held a guest appointment in the NIH Laboratory of Comparative Ethology.