Stroking hardness changes the perception of affective touch pleasantness across different skin sites

Jiabin Yu, Jiajia Yang, Yinghua Yu, Qiong Wu, Satoshi Takahashi, Yoshimichi Ejima, Jinglong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Human unmyelinated tactile afferents (CT afferents) in hairy skin are thought to be involved in the transmission of affective aspects of touch. How the perception of affective touch differs across human skin has made substantial progress; however, the majority of previous studies have mainly focused on the relationship between stroking velocities and pleasantness ratings. Here, we investigate how stroking hardness affects the perception of affective touch. Affective tactile stimulation was given with four different hardness of brushes at three different forces, which were presented to either palm or forearm. To quantify the physical factors of the stimuli (brush hardness), ten naïve, healthy participants assessed brush hardness using a seven-point scale. Based on these ten participants, five more participants were added to rate the hedonic value of brush stroking using a visual analogue scale (VAS). We found that pleasantness ratings over the skin resulted in a preference for light, soft stroking, which was rated as more pleasant when compared to heavy, hard stroking. Our results show that the hairy skin of the forearm is more susceptible to stroking hardness than the glabrous of the palm in terms of the perception of pleasantness. These findings of the current study extend the growing literature related to the effect of stroking characteristics on pleasantness ratings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02141
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Affective tactile
  • CT afferents
  • Neuroscience
  • Physical factors
  • Pleasantness ratings
  • Stroking hardness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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