Interpersonal touch is intrinsically reciprocal since it entails a person promoting and another receiving the touch. While several studies have investigated the beneficial effects of receiving affective touch, the affective experience of caressing another individual remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the hedonic and autonomic responses (skin conductance and heart rate) in the person promoting affective touch. We also examined whether interpersonal relationship, gender, and eye contact modulate these responses. As expected, caressing the partner was perceived as more pleasant than caressing a stranger, especially if the affective touch occurred together with mutual eye contact. Promoting affective touch to the partner also resulted in a decrease of both autonomic responses and anxiety levels, suggesting the occurrence of a calming effect. Additionally, these effects were more pronounced in females compared to males, indicating that hedonic and autonomic aspects of affective touch are modulated by both social relationship and gender. These findings show for the first time that caressing a beloved one is not only pleasant but also reduces autonomic responses and anxiety in the person promoting the touch. This might suggest that affective touch has an instrumental role for romantic partners in promoting and reinforcing their affective bonding.

Hedonic and autonomic responses in promoting affective touch / Mazza, Alessandro; Cariola, Monia; Capiotto, Francesca; Diano, Matteo; Schintu, Selene; Pia, Lorenzo; Dal Monte, Olga. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 13:1(2023), pp. 1120101-1120115. [10.1038/s41598-023-37471-9]

Hedonic and autonomic responses in promoting affective touch

Schintu, Selene;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Interpersonal touch is intrinsically reciprocal since it entails a person promoting and another receiving the touch. While several studies have investigated the beneficial effects of receiving affective touch, the affective experience of caressing another individual remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the hedonic and autonomic responses (skin conductance and heart rate) in the person promoting affective touch. We also examined whether interpersonal relationship, gender, and eye contact modulate these responses. As expected, caressing the partner was perceived as more pleasant than caressing a stranger, especially if the affective touch occurred together with mutual eye contact. Promoting affective touch to the partner also resulted in a decrease of both autonomic responses and anxiety levels, suggesting the occurrence of a calming effect. Additionally, these effects were more pronounced in females compared to males, indicating that hedonic and autonomic aspects of affective touch are modulated by both social relationship and gender. These findings show for the first time that caressing a beloved one is not only pleasant but also reduces autonomic responses and anxiety in the person promoting the touch. This might suggest that affective touch has an instrumental role for romantic partners in promoting and reinforcing their affective bonding.
2023
1
Mazza, Alessandro; Cariola, Monia; Capiotto, Francesca; Diano, Matteo; Schintu, Selene; Pia, Lorenzo; Dal Monte, Olga
Hedonic and autonomic responses in promoting affective touch / Mazza, Alessandro; Cariola, Monia; Capiotto, Francesca; Diano, Matteo; Schintu, Selene; Pia, Lorenzo; Dal Monte, Olga. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 13:1(2023), pp. 1120101-1120115. [10.1038/s41598-023-37471-9]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/398030
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