The study of social and affective touch is a new direction for the lab.
With respect to neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, social touch provides a key link between low-level perception and social difficulties. We are particularly interested in studying the ecological validity of real-life social interactions with respect to sensory processing, deemed Social Sensory Experiences. In particular we are interested in individuals’ attitude to social tactile interactions, and the extent to which social tactile interactions are difficult or effortful.
Given our suggested findings that low level tactile differences are associated with clinical core social difficulties in autism, we are also interested to determine to what extent tactile perceptual difficulties impact social touch experiences.
This area is new to our group and we’re currently designing and piloting new experiments to test social touch experiences objectively.
Watch this space!