Slow, gentle stimulation of hairy skin is generally accompanied by hedonic sensations. This phenomenon, also known as (positive) affective touch, is likely to be the basis of affiliative interactions with conspecifics by promoting inter-individual bindings. Previous studies on healthy humans have demonstrated that affective touch can remarkably impact behavior. For instance, by administering the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) paradigm, the embodiment of a fake hand enhances after a slow, affective touch compared to a fast, neutral touch. However, results coming from this area are not univocal. In addition, there are no clues in the existing literature on the relationship between affective touch and the space around our body. To overcome these lacks, we carried out two separate experiments where participants underwent a RHI paradigm (Experiment 1) and a Visuo-Tactile Interaction task (Experiment 2), designed to tap into body representation and peripersonal space processing, respectively. In both experiments, an affective touch (CT-optimal, 3 cm/sec) and neutral touch (CT-suboptimal, 18 cm/sec) were delivered by the experimenter on the dorsal side of participants’ hand through a “skin to skin” contact. In Experiment 1, we did not find any modulation of body representation-not at behavioral nor at a physiological level-by affective touch. In Experiment 2, no visuo-tactile spatial modulation emerged depending upon the pleasantness of the touch received. These null findings are interpreted in the light of the current scientific context where the real nature of affective touch is often misguided, and they offer the possibility to pave the way for understanding the real effects of affective touch on body/space representation.

Spaccasassi, C., Frigione, I., & Maravita, A. (2021). Bliss in and out of the body: The (extra)corporeal space is impervious to social pleasant touch. BRAIN SCIENCES, 11(2), 1-18 [10.3390/brainsci11020225].

Bliss in and out of the body: The (extra)corporeal space is impervious to social pleasant touch

Spaccasassi C.
;
Maravita A.
2021

Abstract

Slow, gentle stimulation of hairy skin is generally accompanied by hedonic sensations. This phenomenon, also known as (positive) affective touch, is likely to be the basis of affiliative interactions with conspecifics by promoting inter-individual bindings. Previous studies on healthy humans have demonstrated that affective touch can remarkably impact behavior. For instance, by administering the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) paradigm, the embodiment of a fake hand enhances after a slow, affective touch compared to a fast, neutral touch. However, results coming from this area are not univocal. In addition, there are no clues in the existing literature on the relationship between affective touch and the space around our body. To overcome these lacks, we carried out two separate experiments where participants underwent a RHI paradigm (Experiment 1) and a Visuo-Tactile Interaction task (Experiment 2), designed to tap into body representation and peripersonal space processing, respectively. In both experiments, an affective touch (CT-optimal, 3 cm/sec) and neutral touch (CT-suboptimal, 18 cm/sec) were delivered by the experimenter on the dorsal side of participants’ hand through a “skin to skin” contact. In Experiment 1, we did not find any modulation of body representation-not at behavioral nor at a physiological level-by affective touch. In Experiment 2, no visuo-tactile spatial modulation emerged depending upon the pleasantness of the touch received. These null findings are interpreted in the light of the current scientific context where the real nature of affective touch is often misguided, and they offer the possibility to pave the way for understanding the real effects of affective touch on body/space representation.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Scientifica
Affective touch; Body ownership; Peripersonal space; Rubber hand; Visuo-tactile;
English
Spaccasassi, C., Frigione, I., & Maravita, A. (2021). Bliss in and out of the body: The (extra)corporeal space is impervious to social pleasant touch. BRAIN SCIENCES, 11(2), 1-18 [10.3390/brainsci11020225].
Spaccasassi, C; Frigione, I; Maravita, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/306166
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