Lydia Denworth, ’The Surprising, Undeniable Power of Touch – A newly recognized nerve system connects us in ways we never realized’, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-waves/201511/the-surprising-undeniable-power-touch, Psychology Today (Nov 19, 2015).
This newly recognized system, known as affective or emotional touch, consists of nerve fibers triggered by exactly the kind of loving caress a mother gives her child. (…) It is possible that these neurobiological foundations of attachment might play a far more significant role in human behavior than has previously been recognized, forging connection and increasing our chance of survival. These fibers may also help our minds construct and integrate a sense of self and other, informing our awareness of our own bodies and our ability to relate to people around us. (…) Affective touch is a potential way in to understanding the development of the normal social brain. (…) We may be able to identify and develop new treatment solutions based on touch – particularly for conditions as diverse as Rett syndrome, autism, neuropathic pain, and spinal cord damage.