Neuroception = instantaneous, subconscious processing of safety and risk

Neuroception and the 3 Part Brain | by Trauma Geek | Age of Awareness | Medium

Safety cues move us up the ladder. Danger cues move us down the ladder. This is a subconscious neurological process called neuroception.

How to Use The Polyvagal Ladder PDF (Instant Download) — Trauma Geek

Our subconscious somatic perception of danger, known as neuroception, triggers a drop down this ladder when we encounter a threat. When the threat is past, mammals naturally move back up the ladder by shaking off the survival energy.

The Neuroscience of Community. A set of graphics by Janae Elisabeth… | by Trauma Geek | Age of Awareness | Medium

The body is constantly performing a complex process called neuroception in which it senses the safety or danger in our environment and chooses which neural program to activate.

The Vagus Nerve & Chronic Illness – Age of Awareness – Medium

It’s difficult to access safety when you’re tuned to neurocept danger.

Hyper-plasticity predisposes us to have strong associative reactions to trauma. Our threat-response learning system is turned to high alert. The flip side of this hyper-plasticity is that we also adapt quickly to environments that are truly safe for our nervous system.

The stereotypes of meltdowns and self-harm in autism come from the fact that we frequently have stress responses to things that others do not perceive as distressing. Because our unique safety needs are not widely understood, growing up with extensive trauma has become our default.

Because of our different bio-social responses to stimulus, autistic people have significant barriers to accessing safety.

Discovering a Trauma-Informed Positive Autistic Identity | by Trauma Geek | Medium

Part of our neuroception is genetic. Neurodivergent people have heightened neuroception from birth or before birth.

Danger cues that are very painful to a neurodivergent person may be neutral or pleasant to someone else.

How to Use The Polyvagal Ladder PDF (Instant Download) — Trauma Geek

Neurodivergent people are hypersensitive to mindset and environment due to a greater number of neuronal connections. They have both a higher risk for trauma and a large capacity for sensing safety.

Neuroception and the 3 Part Brain PDF (Instant Download) — Trauma Geek

The “classic” stereotype of autism comes from the fact that hypersensitive people experience higher than usual levels of dissociation in direct response to overwhelming environmental input.

Everyone Dissociates PDF (Instant Download) — Trauma Geek

Further reading,