Touch concerns a fundamental component of sociality. In this review, we examine the hypothesis that somatomotor development constitutes a crucial psychophysiological element in the ontogeny of intersubjectivity. An interdisciplinary perspective is provided on how the communication channel of touch contributes to the sense of self and extends to the social self. During gestation, the transformation of random movements into organized sequences of actions with sensory consequences parallels the development of the brain's functional architecture. Brain subsystems shaped by the coordinated activity of somatomotor circuits to support these first body-environment interactions are the first brain functional arrangements to develop. We propose that tactile self-referring behaviour during gestation constitutes a prototypic mode of interpersonal exchange that supports the subsequent development of intersubjective exchange. The reviewed research suggests that touch constitutes a pivotal bodily experience that in early stages builds and later filters self-other interactions. This view is corroborated by the fact that aberrant social-affective touch experiences appear fundamentally associated with attachment anomalies, interpersonal trauma, and personality disorders. Given the centrality of touch for the development of intersubjectivity and for psychopathological conditions in the social domain, dedicated research is urged to elucidate the role of touch in the evolution of subjective self-other coding.

An integrative perspective on the role of touch in the development of intersubjectivity

Di Plinio, Simone
Primo
;
Ebisch, Sjoerd
Ultimo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Touch concerns a fundamental component of sociality. In this review, we examine the hypothesis that somatomotor development constitutes a crucial psychophysiological element in the ontogeny of intersubjectivity. An interdisciplinary perspective is provided on how the communication channel of touch contributes to the sense of self and extends to the social self. During gestation, the transformation of random movements into organized sequences of actions with sensory consequences parallels the development of the brain's functional architecture. Brain subsystems shaped by the coordinated activity of somatomotor circuits to support these first body-environment interactions are the first brain functional arrangements to develop. We propose that tactile self-referring behaviour during gestation constitutes a prototypic mode of interpersonal exchange that supports the subsequent development of intersubjective exchange. The reviewed research suggests that touch constitutes a pivotal bodily experience that in early stages builds and later filters self-other interactions. This view is corroborated by the fact that aberrant social-affective touch experiences appear fundamentally associated with attachment anomalies, interpersonal trauma, and personality disorders. Given the centrality of touch for the development of intersubjectivity and for psychopathological conditions in the social domain, dedicated research is urged to elucidate the role of touch in the evolution of subjective self-other coding.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/793658
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