ESI TALKS: Rochelle Ackerley

At this bi-weekly event, we invite speakers from Neuroscience and related fields to share their current research in an informal and casual environment. The ESITALKS last around 45 minutes, followed by discussions.

We are very happy to invite you to this ESITALKS about

The encoding of affective in humans: how signals from the periphery are tuned to promote social interactions

Affective interactions are essential to engage in behaviors such as establishing interpersonal bonds and understanding how others feel, as well as processing the consequences of our actions. These processes are not just phenomena of the brain; positive affective signals are encoded from the skin. I will present a series of studies that show evidence for these mechanisms from direct recordings of single nerve fibers in humans, via the technique of microneurography. Affective signals, such as pain and pleasantness, can be encoded directly by C-fibres. For pleasant, positive affective touch, C-tactile (CT) fibers have been shown to fire optimally to a slow, gentle caress delivered around skin temperature, which has linked them to interpersonal bonding. These afferents have a number of properties which make them ideally suited to convey positive affective information from the skin, which reinforces this type of touch, thus creating and strengthening social bonds (Schirmer, Croy & Ackerley, 2023, Neurosci & Biobehav Rev).

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