BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Tune to touch: affective touch enhances learning of face identity in 4-month-old infants

    Della longa, Letizia and Gliga, Teodora and Farroni, T. (2019) Tune to touch: affective touch enhances learning of face identity in 4-month-old infants. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 35 , pp. 42-46. ISSN 1878-9293.

    1-s2.0-S1878929317300294-main.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (390kB) | Preview


    Touch provides more than sensory input for discrimination of what is on the skin. From early in development it has a rewarding and motivational value, which may reflect an evolutionary mechanism that promotes learning and affiliative bonding. In the present study we investigated whether affective touch helps infants tune to social signals, such as faces. Four- month-old infants were habituated to an individual face with averted gaze, which typically does not engage infants to the same extent as direct gaze does. As in a previous study, in the absence of touch, infants did not learn the identity of this face. Critically, 4-month-old infants did learn to discriminate this face when parents provided gentle stroking, but they did not when they experienced a non-social tactile stimulation. A preliminary follow-up eye-tracking study (supplementary material) revealed no significant difference in the visual scanning of faces between touch and no-touch conditions, suggesting that affective touch may not affect the distribution of visual attention, but that it may promote more efficient learning of facial information.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Affective touch, Face processing, Infancy, Habituation
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Teodora Gliga
    Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2018 11:21
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:38


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item