Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Caresses enjoyable vicariously too

17.10.2011
It is well-known that we humans enjoy sensual caresses, but the brain reacts just as strongly to seeing another person being caressed, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Being gently caressed by another person is both a physical and an emotional experience. But the way we are touched and the reaction this elicits in the brain are a science of their own.

The Soft Brush Test

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy have studied how the brain reacts to caresses. Volunteers were given MRI scans to measure blood flows in the brain while being stroked either slowly or quickly with a soft brush.

Same reaction via video

Not unexpectedly, the brain reacted most strongly to the slow strokes. More surprising results emerged when the volunteers instead watched videos of another person being caressed.

"The aim was to understand how the brain processes information from sensual contact, and it turned out that the brain was activated just as quickly when the volunteers got to watch someone else being caressed as when they were being caressed themselves," says India Morrison, one of the researchers behind the study. “Even when we are only watching sensual skin contact, we can experience its emotional meaning without actually feeling the touch directly."

Love or fight?

As a comparison, the volunteers also got to watch a video where a hand caresses an inanimate object, and in this case the brain was not activated anywhere near as strongly.

So what do these results mean?

“They indicate that our brain is wired in such a way that we can feel and process other people’s sensations, which could open up new ways of studying how we create empathy," says Morrison. “It's important for us as people to understand the significance of different types of touch – to know whether two people are in a relationship or are about to start a fight.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Bibliographic data:
Journal: The Journal of Neurosciende
Title: Vicarious Responses to Social Touch in Posterior Insular Cortex Are Tuned to Pleasant Caressing Speeds

Authors: India Morrison1, Malin Björnsdotter,Håkan Olausson

For more information, please contact: India Morrison
Mobile: +46 (0)72 728 0922
Email: India.morrison@neuro.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>