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Body and Brain

12:54pm, June 29, 2012

Good touch, bad touch
A leg caress can delight or feel totally skeevy, depending on who’s doing the caressing. A touch’s emotional baggage can be seen in the brain’s initial response to that touch, scientists report in the June 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Heterosexual men’s somatosensory cortices, brain regions that detect a touch’s basic attributes, responded differently when a touch was thought to come from a gorgeous woman in a black evening dress or a masculine man in a black tank top. Emotions are incorporated into touch sensation surprisingly early in the sensory process, the study shows.

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