Rochelle Ackerley.jpg


We have gained much knowledge in recent years about the mechanisms involved in human touch, from the peripheral encoding of touch to its central interpretation. Many studies investigate positive affective touch (pleasant touch) and we know that a specific class of slowly-conducting mechanoreceptor in the skin codes such gentle, moving touch optimally. The input from these receptors, so-called C-tactile (CT) afferents, is thought to underlie the pleasant and emotional aspects of touch, such as in social and affiliative touch between friends and family. One important issue in touch, especially affective touch, is how our habits have changed during the social distancing imposed in the COVID pandemic. I will explore these ideas and provide ideas about how touch has changed and the impact of this.