Hand or spoon? Exploring the neural basis of affective touch in 5-month-old infants


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Pirazzoli, L 
Braukmann, R 
Gliga, T 
Abstract

In adults, affective touch leads to widespread activation of cortical areas including posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus (pSTS) and Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), we asked whether similar areas are activated in 5-month-old infants, by comparing affective to non-affective touch. We contrasted a human touch stroke to strokes performed with a cold metallic spoon. The hypothesis that adult-like activation of cortical areas would be seen only in response to the human touch stroke was not confirmed. Similar patterns of activation were seen in both conditions. We conclude that either the posterior STS and IFG have not yet developed selective responses to affective touch, or that additional social cues are needed to be able to identify this type of touch.

Description
Keywords
fNIRS, infants, affective touch, IFG, STS
Journal Title
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1878-9293
1878-9307
Volume Title
Publisher
Elsevier
Sponsorship
Medical Research Council (MR/K021389/1)
Medical Research Council (G0701484)
The research was supported by The UK Medical Research Council (G0701484) and the European Project TRIGGER (Transforming Institutions by Gendering Contents and Gaining Equality in Research), Grant agreement no. 611034. LP was supported by the Glover Family Award.