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Affective regulation through touch: homeostatic and allostatic mechanisms

Fotopoulou, A, von Mohr, M and Krahé, C (2021) Affective regulation through touch: homeostatic and allostatic mechanisms. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 43. pp. 80-87. ISSN 2352-1546

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We focus on social touch as a paradigmatic case of the embodied, cognitive, and metacognitive processes involved in social, affective regulation. Social touch appears to contribute three interrelated but distinct functions to affective regulation. First, it regulates affects by fulfilling embodied predictions about social proximity and attachment. Second, caregiving touch, such as warming an infant, regulates affect by socially enacting homeostatic control and co-regulation of physiological states. Third, affective touch such as gentle stroking or tickling regulates affect by allostatic regulation of the salience and epistemic gain of particular experiences in given contexts and timescales. These three functions of affective touch are most likely mediated, at least partly, by different neurobiological processes, including convergent hedonic, dopaminergic and analgesic, opioidergic pathways for the attachment function, ‘calming’ autonomic and endocrine pathways for the homeostatic function, while the allostatic function may be mediated by oxytocin release and related ‘salience’ neuromodulators and circuits.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Elsevier BV
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 09:45
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 09:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2021.08.008
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17483
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