Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We show that the affective experience of touch and the sight of touch can be modulated by cognition, and investigate in an fMRI study where top-down cognitive modulations of bottom-up somatosensory and visual processing of touch and its affective value occur in the human brain. The cognitive modulation was produced by word labels, 'Rich moisturizing cream' or 'Basic cream', while cream was being applied to the forearm, or was seen being applied to a forearm. The subjective pleasantness and richness were modulated by the word labels, as were the fMRI activations to touch in parietal cortex area 7, the insula and ventral striatum. The cognitive labels influenced the activations to the sight of touch and also the correlations with pleasantness in the pregenual cingulate/orbitofrontal cortex and ventral striatum. Further evidence of how the orbitofrontal cortex is involved in affective aspects of touch was that touch to the forearm [which has C fiber Touch (CT) afferents sensitive to light touch] compared with touch to the glabrous skin of the hand (which does not) revealed activation in the mid-orbitofrontal cortex. This is of interest as previous studies have suggested that the CT system is important in affiliative caress-like touch between individuals.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/scan/nsn005

Type

Journal article

Journal

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci

Publication Date

06/2008

Volume

3

Pages

97 - 108

Keywords

Acoustic Stimulation, Adolescent, Adult, Affect, Brain Mapping, Cerebral Cortex, Comprehension, Concept Formation, Female, Forearm, Humans, Imagination, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Photic Stimulation, Psycholinguistics, Reference Values, Sensory Receptor Cells, Touch, Verbal Behavior, Young Adult