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The human "feel" of touch contributes to its perceived pleasantness.

Wijaya, M, Lau, D, Horrocks, S, McGlone, FP, Ling, H and Schirmer, A (2019) The human "feel" of touch contributes to its perceived pleasantness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. ISSN 0096-1523

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This study explored whether a human-like feel of touch biases perceived pleasantness and whether such a bias depends on top-down cognitive and/or bottom-up sensory processes. In 2 experiments, 11 materials were stroked across the forearm at different velocities (bottom-up) and participants rated tactile pleasantness and humanness. Additionally, in Experiment 1, participants identified the materials (top-down), whereas in Experiment 2, they rated each material with respect to its somatosensory properties (bottom-up). Stroking felt most pleasant at velocities optimal for the stimulation of CT-afferents, a mechanosensory nerve hypothesized to underpin affective touch. A corresponding effect on perceived humanness was significant in Experiment 1 and marginal in Experiment 2. Whereas material identification was unrelated to both pleasantness and humanness, we observed a robust relation with the somatosensory properties. Materials perceived as smooth, slippery, and soft were also pleasant. A corresponding effect on perceived humanness was significant for the first somatosensory property only. Humanness positively predicted pleasantness and neither top-down nor bottom-up factors altered this relationship. Thus, perceiving gentle touch as human appears to promote pleasure possibly because this serves to reinforce interpersonal contact as a means for creating and maintaining social bonds. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000705
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 11:26
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 08:23
DOI or ID number: 10.1037/xhp0000705
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11805
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