Who does not love the softness of their partner’s skin however contrary to what you might think it has nothing to do with the new moisturizer that they bought?
It has more to do with the power of your own mind; as a new study found that ‘people are primed to perceive someone else’s skin as softer and smoother than their own’.
A new study published in the Current Biology, conducted at the University of College London by Dr Antjie Gentsch who is the study author conducted a series of experiments on touch perception and found some interesting evidence.
Namely, “Social Softness Illusion” which is a term they coined which simply means that when you touch someone else’s skin and it tends to feel softer and smoother than when you touch your own, despite whether it actually is or not.
“What is intriguing about the illusion is its specificity. We found the illusion to be strongest when the stroking was applied intentionally and according to the optimal properties of the specialised system in the skin for receiving affective touch.”
The system which was specialized involved a certain type of nerves known as C tactile (CT) fibres, this is believed to be “That specialized system involves a certain class of nerves known as C tactile (CT) afferents, which are believed to be “specifically tuned to human caresses, giving rise to pleasant sensations,” explained the authors.
However, the illusion only seemed to work when the study subjects were asked to touch someone else’s forearm rather than their own palm, as there are no CT vessels present under the skin.
As well as it did not work when the participants were asked to trail a piece of cotton over someone’s skin and their own, as the cotton felt equally as soft in neither circumstances.
Ever wondered why you are eager to touch one another?
Well the authors believe that the illusion may provide a clearer explanation as to why people are prone to touch.
“Rewarding sensations we receive from touching and being touched by others makes us likely to seek out and reinforce our social bonds.”
Sources: Medical Daily, Current Biology