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  Physiological and behavioral responses reveal 9-month-old infants' sensitivity to pleasant touch

Fairhurst, M. T., Löken, L., & Grossmann, T. (2014). Physiological and behavioral responses reveal 9-month-old infants' sensitivity to pleasant touch. Psychological Science, 25(5), 1124-1131. doi:10.1177/0956797614527114.

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 Creators:
Fairhurst, Merle T.1, Author              
Löken, L.2, Author
Grossmann, Tobias1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Early Social Development, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_1356545              
2Oxford University, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: infant development; cognitive development; social interaction
 Abstract: Caregiving touch has been shown to be essential for the growth and development of human infants. However, the physiological and behavioral mechanisms that underpin infants’ sensitivity to pleasant touch are still poorly understood. In human adults, a subclass of unmyelinated peripheral nerve fibers has been shown to respond preferentially to medium-velocity soft brushing. It has been theorized that this privileged pathway for pleasant touch is used for close affiliative interactions with conspecific individuals, especially between caregivers and infants. To test whether human infants are sensitive to pleasant touch, we examined arousal (heart rate) and attentional engagement (gaze shifts and duration of looks) to varying velocities of brushing (slow, medium, and fast) in 9-month-old infants. Our results provide physiological and behavioral evidence that sensitivity to pleasant touch emerges early in development and therefore plays an important role in regulating human social interactions.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2014-02-102014-03-282014-05
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1177/0956797614527114
PMID: 24681587
PMC: PMC4017181
Other: Epub 2014
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Title: Psychological Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 25 (5) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1124 - 1131 Identifier: ISSN: 0956-7976
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/974392592005