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Distinction of self-produced touch and social touch at cortical and spinal cord levels
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Univ Virginia, VA 22904 USA.
Univ Virginia, VA 22904 USA.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Psychiatry.
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2019 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 116, no 6, p. 2290-2299Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Differentiation between self-produced tactile stimuli and touch by others is necessary for social interactions and for a coherent concept of "self." The mechanisms underlying this distinction are unknown. Here, we investigated the distinction between self-and other-produced light touch in healthy volunteers using three different approaches: fMRI, behavioral testing, and somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) at spinal and cortical levels. Using fMRI, we found self-other differentiation in somatosensory and sociocognitive areas. Other-touch was related to activation in several areas, including somatosensory cortex, insula, superior temporal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, striatum, amygdala, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortex. During self-touch, we instead found deactivation in insula, anterior cingulate cortex, superior temporal gyrus, amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus, and prefrontal areas. Deactivation extended into brain areas encoding low-level sensory representations, including thalamus and brainstem. These findings were replicated in a second cohort. During self-touch, the sensorimotor cortex was functionally connected to the insula, and the threshold for detection of an additional tactile stimulus was elevated. Differential encoding of self-vs. other-touch during fMRI correlated with the individual self-concept strength. In SEP, cortical amplitudes were reduced during self-touch, while latencies at cortical and spinal levels were faster for other-touch. We thus demonstrated a robust self-other distinction in brain areas related to somatosensory, social cognitive, and interoceptive processing. Signs of this distinction were evident at the spinal cord. Our results provide a framework for future studies in autism, schizophrenia, and emotionally unstable personality disorder, conditions where symptoms include social touch avoidance and poor self-vs.-other discrimination.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATL ACAD SCIENCES , 2019. Vol. 116, no 6, p. 2290-2299
Keywords [en]
sensorimotor integration; self-touch; affective touch; sensory attenuation; self-concept
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-154553DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1816278116ISI: 000457731900074PubMedID: 30670645OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-154553DiVA, id: diva2:1290518
Note

Funding Agencies|ALF Grants, Region Ostergotland, Linkoping University

Available from: 2019-02-20 Created: 2019-02-20 Last updated: 2019-06-27

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Böhme, RebeccaHeilig, MarkusOlausson, Håkan
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Center for Social and Affective NeuroscienceFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDepartment of PsychiatryCenter for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)Department of Clinical Neurophysiology
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