Sensitivity to CT-optimal, Affective Touch Depends on Adult Attachment Style



Krahe, Charlotte ORCID: 0000-0002-0620-1263, von Mohr, Mariana, Gentsch, Antje, Guy, Lisette, Vari, Chiara, Nolte, Tobias and Fotopoulou, Aikaterini
(2018) Sensitivity to CT-optimal, Affective Touch Depends on Adult Attachment Style. Scientific Reports, 8 (1). 14544-.

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Abstract

Affective touch supports affiliative bonds and social cognition. In particular, gentle, stroking touch, which has recently been associated with the C Tactile (CT) system, is typically perceived as pleasant and prosocial. However, it remains unknown whether pre-existing models of social relating influence the perception of CT-optimal touch. In this study (N = 44 adults), we examined how individual differences in attachment styles relate to the perception of CT-optimal touch, as well as to a different modality of interoception, namely heartbeat perception. Using the gold-standard assessment of attachment (Adult Attachment Interview), we found that insecure attachment was associated with reduced pleasantness discrimination between CT-optimal vs. non-CT optimal touch. Acknowledging the different traditions in measuring attachment, we also used a well-validated self-report questionnaire that pertains to explicit representations of current close relationships. Using this measure, we found that higher scores in attachment anxiety (but not attachment avoidance) were associated with reduced pleasantness discrimination between CT-optimal vs. non-CT optimal touch. Attachment patterns (in both measures) were not related to cardiac perception accuracy. These results corroborate and extend previous literature on CT-optimal touch and its relation with affiliative bonds and social cognition. Given that attachment was not related to perceived cardiac accuracy, these findings point to the specificity of the relationship between CT-optimal touch and attachment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human behviour, Physiology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:53
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-32865-6
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3038468