Defining pleasant touch stimuli: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review

  • Pankaj Taneja
  • Håkan Olausson, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, Sweden
  • Mats Trulsson, Scandinavian Centre for Orofacial Neurosciences (SCON), Aarhus, Denmark, Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden, Sweden
  • Peter Svensson
  • Lene Baad-Hansen

Pleasantness is generally overlooked when investigating tactile functions. Addition of a pleasant stimulus could allow for a more complete characterisation of somatosensory function. The aims of this review were to systematically assess the methodologies used to elicit a pleasant sensation, measured via psychophysical techniques, and to perform a meta-analysis to measure the effect of brush stroking velocity on touch pleasantness. Eighteen studies were included in the systematic review, with five studies included in the meta-analysis. The review found that factors such as texture, velocity, force, and the duration of continuous stroking influence tactile evoked pleasantness. Specifically, using a soft material and stroking at a velocity of 3 cm/s with light force is generally considered as particularly pleasant. The meta-analysis showed that a brush stroking velocity of 30 cm/s was rated as less pleasant than 3 cm/s, on the forearm. The present study collates the factors that are most likely to provide a stimulus to elicit a pleasant sensation. The results should be important for studies requiring a well-defined pleasant stimulus including neurosensory assessment protocols, allowing for a more complete multimodality assessment of somatosensory function.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Research
Volume85
Issue1
Pages (from-to)20-35
Number of pages16
ISSN0340-0727
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • HAIRY SKIN, INTENSITY, MECHANORECEPTORS, PAIN, RATING-SCALE, SOCIAL TOUCH, STROKING, UNMYELINATED TACTILE AFFERENTS, VELOCITY, VISUAL ANALOG SCALES

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 172633676