H-O-M-I: Happy-Orient-Mobilise-Immobilise (after Porges)
I have been playing with a new graph explaining the defence cascade in response to the perception of threat. The graph shows phases of how we respond to threat and a new mnemonic HOMI.
The Happy phase is added to emphasise the new vagus is firing at its maximum when we are playing. I have noticed students get confused when I merge happiness and orienting in my explanations. Hopefully this makes it a bit easier.
As the ‘vagal brake’ comes off due to the perception of threat, more primitive action patterns emerge. Initially in the orienting phase these changes are mediated by activity in the Ventral Vagal Complex (‘VVC’ – cranial nerves V, VII, IX, X, XI ). Simple action patterns emerge that influence head turning, facial expression, focus, breathing and heart rate.