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  • CIS
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    Non-members: Free
    Length: 00:41:01
12 Sep 2022

Aikaterini (Katerina) Fotopoulou (University College London, UK),
Abstract: I will present insights from the psychology and neuroscience of affective touch, including the mechanisms by which affective touch acts to facilitate affective regulation (e.g. the neurophysiological mechanisms by which parents can sooth stress or pain by touch), affective communication (e.g. how touch can communicate social support or empathy) and self development (how touch interactions in early life teach us about our body boundaries) in health and in disease. Such effects of social touch acquired a new resonance in the year of social distancing measures, reminding us of the well-studied role of contact comfort in development, relatedness and health. I will explore relevant data collected during the pandemic on the mental health effects of unprecedented touch deprivation in human adults, as well as survey, experimental and neuroimaging insights on experiences and attitudes to digital remote touch technology for mediating physical remoteness and social communication, for example the sharing of digital tactile emoticon during social media interactions.