It is well-known that we humans enjoy sensual caresses, but the brain reacts just as strongly to seeing another person being caressed, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Being gently caressed by another person is both a physical and an emotional experience. But the way we are touched and the reaction this elicits in the brain are a science of their own.
The Soft Brush Test
Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have studied how the brain reacts to caresses. Volunteers were given MRI scans to measure blood flows in the brain while being stroked either slowly or quickly with a soft brush.
Same reaction via video
Not unexpectedly, the brain reacted most strongly to the slow strokes. More surprising results emerged when the volunteers instead watched videos of another person being caressed.