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A Positive Touch: C-tactile afferent targeted skin stimulation carries an appetitive motivational value.

Pawling, R, Trotter, PD, McGlone, FP and Walker, SC (2017) A Positive Touch: C-tactile afferent targeted skin stimulation carries an appetitive motivational value. Biological Psychology, 129. pp. 186-194. ISSN 1873-6246

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The rewarding sensation of touch in affiliative interactions is hypothesised to be underpinned by an unmyelinated system of nerve fibres called C-tactile afferents (CTs). CTs are velocity tuned, responding optimally to slow, gentle touch, typical of a caress. Here we used evaluative conditioning to examine whether CT activation carries a positive affective value. A set of neutral faces were paired with robotically delivered touch to the forearm. With half the faces touch was delivered at a CT optimal velocity of 3cm/s (CT touch) and with the other half at a faster, Non-CT optimal velocity of 30cm/s (Control touch). Heart-rate and skin conductance responses (SCRs) were recorded throughout. Whilst rated equally approachable pre-conditioning, post-conditioning faces paired with CT touch were judged significantly more approachable than those paired with Control touch. CT touch also elicited significantly greater heart-rate deceleration and lower amplitude SCRs than Control touch. The results indicate CT touch carries a positive affective value, which can be acquired by socially relevant stimuli it is associated with.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Science, 1109 Neurosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 11:50
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:13
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.057
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7150
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