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Temporal dynamics of brain activation during 40 minutes of pleasant touch
University of Gothenburg, Sweden; University of Oslo, Norway.
University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Sahlgrens University Hospital, Sweden.
Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience (CSAN).
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2016 (English)In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 139, 360-367 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Touch is important for individuals subjective well-being, is typically rewarding, and is one of few sensory stimuli which are experienced as pleasant for a rather long time. This study tracked brain activation during slow stroking stimulation of the arm that was applied continuously for 40 min - a much longer time than what previous studies have investigated. Methods: 25 subjects were stroked for 40 min with a soft brush while they were scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and rated the perceived pleasantness of the brush stroking. Two resting baselines were included. Whole brain-based analyses investigated the neural response to long-lasting stroking. Results: Stroking was perceived as pleasant throughout scanning and activated areas that were previously found to be involved in the processing of pleasant touch. Activation in primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and S2, subdivision OP1, decreased over time, whereas activation in orbito-frontal gyrus (OFC) and putamen strongly increased until reaching a plateau after approximately 20 min. Similarly, functional connectivity of posterior insula with middle cingulate and striatal regions increased over time. Discussion: Long-lasting stroking was processed in similar areas as shorter-lasting stroking. The decreased activation in somatosensory cortices over time may represent stimulus habituation, whereas increased activation in OFC and putamen may relate to the stimulations subjective reward value. This involvement of reward-related brain circuits can facilitate maintenance of long-lasting social touch interactions. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE , 2016. Vol. 139, 360-367 p.
Keyword [en]
Touch; Reward; Stroking; Inferior frontal gyrus; Putamen; Secondary somatosensory cortex
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131658DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.06.031ISI: 000381583500035PubMedID: 27338514OAI: diva2:1014970

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council [2011-1529]; Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond [MAW 2014.000]

Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2016-11-02

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Hamilton, PaulOlausson, HåkanCroy, Ilona
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