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Affective touch topography and body image.

Cazzato, V, Sacchetti, S, Shin, S, Makdani, A, Trotter, PD and McGlone, FP (2021) Affective touch topography and body image. PLoS One, 16 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

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Recent evidence suggests that altered responses to affective touch-a pleasant interoceptive stimulus associated with activation of the C-Tactile (CT) system-may contribute to the aetiology and maintenance of mental conditions characterised by body image disturbances (e.g., Anorexia Nervosa). Here, we investigated whether tactile pleasantness and intensity differ across body sites, and if individual differences in dysmorphic appearance concerns and body and emotional awareness might be associated with touch perceptions across body sites. To this end, we measured perceived pleasantness and intensity of gentle, dynamic stroking touches applied to the palm, forearm, face, abdomen and back of 30 female participants (mean age: 25.87±1.17yrs) using CT-optimal (3 cm/s) and non-CT optimal (0.3 and 30 cm/s) stroking touch. As expected, participants rated CT-targeted touch as more pleasant compared to the two non-CT optimal stroking touch at all body sites. Regardless of stroking velocity, touch applied to the abdomen elicited the lowest pleasantness ratings. Lower levels of emotional awareness, greater levels of interoceptive sensibility and of dysmorphic concerns were associated with lower preference for CT-optimal stroking touch applied to the forearm and the back. These findings begin to elucidate the link between CT sensitivity, dysmorphic appearance concerns and body and emotional awareness, which may have implications for future research looking to inform early interventions. Addressing impaired processing of affective interoceptive stimuli, such as CT-targeted touch, may be the key to current treatment approaches available for those populations at risk of disorders characterised by body image disturbance.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2021 12:57
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2021 13:04
DOI or ID number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243680
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15847
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