Neurobiology of Sexual Assault – Part 1: Experience and Behavior

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Price
Free
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Duration
90 Minutes

Originally Aired
September 16, 2016

Jim Hopper
James W. Hopper, Ph.D.
Clinical psychologist and independent consultant, Teaching Associate in Psychology, Harvard Medical School

Traumatic experiences have immediate, automatic and powerful effects on the human brain. This presentation explains how fear and trauma can alter brain functioning during sexual assault, resulting in experiences and behaviors that are, unfortunately, still commonly misunderstood by many who work with victims of sexual assault.

Participants will learn about the key brain circuitries impacted by fear and trauma, including the prefrontal cortex and the fear circuitry. Participants will come to understand brain-based responses to sexual assault, especially those associated with involuntary habits and reflexes. This presentation provides a critical foundation for learning and applying trauma-informed responses with people who have been sexually assaulted.

Objectives

Following this webinar series, participants will be better able to:

  • Understand key brain circuitries impacted by fear and trauma.
  • List a minimum of three common brain-based, involuntary subjective responses to sexual assault.
  • Identify possible brain-based habitual behaviors determined by social conditioning, and reflexive behaviors selected by evolution, that can occur involuntarily during sexual assault.

Handouts

Up Next

Neurobiology of Sexual Assault – Part 2: Experience and Memory


This project is supported by Grant No. 2013-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.