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Journal Article

Editorial overview: Affective touch: neurobiology and function


Schirmer,  Annett
Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schirmer, A., & McGlone, F. (2022). Editorial overview: Affective touch: neurobiology and function. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 45: 101129. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2022.101129.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-B09F-C
Study of the tactile sense has revealed an intriguing C low threshold mechanoreceptor that the human literature refers to as a C-tactile (CT) afferent. Its firing properties imply a role in coding benign or positive physical contact with conspecifics. Touch targeted to stimulate this receptor produces phasic and tonic nervous system changes that may enhance affect, reduce stress, and facilitate social processes with potential long-term benefits via epigenetic mechanisms and learning. Here we provide an overview of a collection of opinions that reflect on current knowledge. Together, these opinions share insights from rodents, primates, and humans and cover a range of methodological approaches and perspectives. They identify scientific advances that have been made as well as problems awaiting further research. Most importantly, they converge on the significance of CT-mediated physical contact for our well-being and establish such contact as a basic human need.