Listen in to hear Bridger and Caleb’s part 1 discussion on “Interpersonal Neurobiology of Intersubjectivity.”


“Interpersonal Neurobiology of Intersubjectivity” -Allan Schore



  • Right hemispheric resonance and synchronicity between the infant and mother is a key element for healthy development. 
  • Relationships shape our brain. Therefore the first relationship (infant and caretaker) is of utmost importance.
  • If you haven’t already, check out Episode 1!


“In such face to face, eye to eye, intersubjective emotional communications, the infant and the mother, intently looking and listening to each other, synchronize and mutually regulate their states. Indeed during these protoconversations, the emotions of both members of the dyad are expressed and actively perceived in spontaneous, reciprocal, and rhythmic turn-taking interaction”(Schore, 2021).

  • Intersubjectivity- two subjects interacting with each other.
  • The way they interact with each other shapes and structures their biological self.
  • The infant is a subject with the ability to interact and regulate with the caretaker.


  • Protoconversations facilitates coregulation.
  • Protoconverations: an encounter that involves words, sounds, posture and gestures that conveys meaning before the onset of language in the child.
  • This synchronization of the right hemisphere provides a template for the left hemisphere to make sense of experience.
  • We are always communicating.
  • The infant communicates from the start.
  • Remember, speech isn’t the primary mode of communicating. 
  • Instead, nonverbal communication increases the connectivity and the mirroring between two humans. 
  • Nonverbal communication provides the conduit for help and growth to actually occur.

“The intrinsic regulators of human brain growth in a child are specifically adapted to be coupled, by emotional communication, to the regulators of adult brains. These regulated intersubjective interactions permit the intercoordination of positive affective brain states within the emotionally communicating dyad” (Schore, 2021).

  • The developing mind depends on these further in-process brains to learn how to adapt and develop themselves.
  • Within this interconnection, the mind emerges over time and through relationships.
    • The mind encompasses all that we attribute to identity and consciousness.
    • Also, all of these things are emergent in that they come from the organization of the brain.
    • Mind is an embodied and relational complex process that emerges within and between brains.
  • The first relationship affects the neurobiological structural development of the infant and the brain . That impacts the mind that we come into contact with in therapy.
  • Lastly, relationships shape the fundamental organization and structural development of our brains – and from that brain our mind emerges.


“The central focus of this psychoneurobiological model of human development is to more deeply understand the underlying mechanisms by which the structure and function of the mind and brain are shaped by experiences, especially those embedded in emotional relationships, as well as the relational mechanisms by which communicating brains synchronize and align their neural activities with other brains” (Schore, 2021).

  • The brain depends on experience for structural and functional organization (especially emotional relationships).
  • Also, the mother synchronizes her own brain to the emotional experience of the infant.

Review – Bowlby’s Strange Situation:

  • How does the child behave once the caretaker leaves?
  • What strategies does the child employ to get the caretaker to get closer to them once they’ve returned?
  • B. Secure Type
  • A. Avoidant Type
  • C. Anxious Preoccupied Type
  • D. Can’t Categorize
  • If the sensed expression or experience of the world is too much, the brain splits and the right brain becomes closed. The left brain is left to make sense of what happened without all the information. (“faulty beliefs”)


Trauma: experience of intolerable affect in the absence of secure attunement

  • Intolerable affect = right hemisphere becomes closed
  • Also, becoming connected right hemispherically allows us to tolerate greater affective distress.


“[I cited a lot of research] and concluded that the essential adaptive capacity of intersubjectivity is specifically impacted by the infant’s early social experiences. Since these social interactions are occurring in a critical period of the right brain growth, the child is using the output of the mother’s right cortex as a template for the imprinting, the hard wiring of circuits in his own developing right cortex that will come to mediate his expanding social-emotional capacities to appraise variations in both external and internal information” (Schore, 2021)

  • “Adaptive capacity of intersubjectivity” – the ability to go beyond what you previously thought you could is specifically impacted by the infant’s early social experiences.
  • “Output of the mother’s right cortex” – the mother’s synchronicity or communication, right brain to right brain.
  • Early relational engagements and encounters can be what forms the later on experience of misattributing information. 


“From an interpersonal neurobiological perspective, intersubjectivity represent a co-created system of unconscious communications of positive and negative affect between two subjective minds, throughout the lifespan” (Schore, 2021).



  • Firstly, synchronizing and coregulating the other (mother, caretaker, therapist) provides physical templates and the psychological and biological brain of the child/client.
  • Because of this, an affect state within my subjectivity was determined to be inappropriate and thus forbidden from my being.
  • Lastly, the implications of interpersonal neurobiology of intersubjectivity finds roots for the present from the past. 



Schore AN (2021) The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Intersubjectivity. Front. Psychol. 12:648616. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648616