Skip to main content

The social buffering of pain by affective touch: a laser-evoked potential study in romantic couples

von Mohr, Mariana, Krahé, Charlotte, Beck, Brianna, Fotopoulou, Aikaterini (2018) The social buffering of pain by affective touch: a laser-evoked potential study in romantic couples. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13 (11). pp. 1121-1130. ISSN 1749-5016. E-ISSN 1749-5024. (doi:10.1093/scan/nsy085)

PDF - Publisher pdf

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Download (853kB) Preview
[img]
Preview
PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Download (832kB) Preview
[img]
Preview
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsy085

Abstract

Pain is modulated by social context. Recent neuroimaging studies have shown that romantic partners can provide a potent form of social support during pain. However, such studies have only focused on passive support, finding a relatively late-onset modulation of pain-related neural processing. In this study, we examined for the first time dynamic touch by one’s romantic partner as an active form of social support. Specifically, 32 couples provided social, active, affective (vs active but neutral) touch according to the properties of a specific C-tactile afferent pathway to their romantic partners, who then received laser-induced pain. We measured subjective pain ratings and early N1 and later N2-P2 laser-evoked potentials (LEPs) to noxious stimulation, as well as individual differences in adult attachment style. We found that affective touch from one’s partner reduces subjective pain ratings and similarly attenuates LEPs both at earlier (N1) and later (N2-P2) stages of cortical processing. Adult attachment style did not affect LEPs, but attachment anxiety had a moderating role on pain ratings. This is the first study to show early neural modulation of pain by active, partner touch, and we discuss these findings in relation to the affective and social modulation of sensory salience.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/scan/nsy085
Uncontrolled keywords: affective touch, attachment style, laser-evoked potentials, pain, romantic couples
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Brianna Beck
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 14:13 UTC
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 08:24 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/70401 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Beck, Brianna: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6784-6583
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year