Phasic and repetitive self-touch differ in hemodynamic response in the prefrontal cortex: An fNIRS study

Sabrina von Au*, Ingo Helmich, Simon Kieffer, Hedda Lausberg

*Korrespondierende*r Autor*in für diese Arbeit

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung

Abstract

Introduction: Each individual touches the own body several 100 times a day. While some researchers propose a self-regulatory function of self-touch, others report that self-touching increases nervousness. This controversy appears to be caused by the fact that researchers did not define the kind of self-touch they examined and actually, referred to different types of self-touch. Thus, kinematically defining different types of self-touch, such as phasic (discrete), repetitive, and irregular, and exploring the neural correlates of the different types will provide insight into the neuropsychological function of self-touching behavior.
Methods: To this aim, we assessed hemodynamic responses in prefrontal brain areas using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and behavioral responses with NEUROGES®. Fifty-two participants were recorded during three specific kinematically types of self-touch (phasic, irregular, repetitive) that were to be performed on command. The recently developed toolbox Satori was used for the visualization of neuronal processes.
Results: Behaviorally, the participants did not perform irregular self-touch reliably. Neurally, the comparison of phasic, irregular and repetitive self-touch revealed different activation patterns. Repetitive self-touch is associated with stronger hemodynamic responses in the left Orbitofrontal Cortex and the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex than phasic self-touch.
Discussion: These brain areas have been reported to be associated with self-regulatory processes. Furthermore, irregular self-touch appears to be primarily generated by implicit neural control. Thus, by distinguishing kinematically different types of self-touch, our findings shed light on the controverse discussion on the neuropsychological function of self-touch.
OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftFrontiers in Neuroergonomics
Jahrgang4
Seiten (von - bis)1-12
Seitenumfang12
ISSN2673-6195
DOIs
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 29.11.2023

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