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Discriminative and Affective Touch: Sensing and Feeling.

Review article
Authors Francis McGlone
Johan Wessberg
Håkan Olausson
Published in Neuron
Volume 82
Issue 4
Pages 737-755
ISSN 1097-4199
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 737-755
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05...
Keywords human, touch, sensory, unmyelinated, affective
Subject categories Neuroscience, Experimental brain research, Clinical neurophysiology, Neurophysiology

Abstract

The multimodal properties of the human somatosensory system continue to be unravelled. There is mounting evidence that one of these submodalities-touch-has another dimension, providing not only its well-recognized discriminative input to the brain, but also an affective input. It has long been recognized that touch plays an important role in many forms of social communication and a number of theories have been proposed to explain observations and beliefs about the "power of touch." Here, we propose that a class of low-threshold mechanosensitive C fibers that innervate the hairy skin represent the neurobiological substrate for the affective and rewarding properties of touch.

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