Gentle touch activates the anterior prefrontal cortex: An NIRS study

Tetsuo Kida, Kazuyuki Shinohara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Gentle touching of the hand activates emotion- and reward-related regions of the brain. The present study investigated activation of the prefrontal cortex by gentle sweeps of the palm or forearm with three materials (wood, velvet, paintbrush) using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Sweeps of the left palm with a sensuous velvet fabric increased the oxy-hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentration in the frontal-polar cortex (FPC) and a part of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), compared to a neutral touch produced by rounded wood. Pleasantness ratings were higher for the velvet than wood. In conclusion, the present study revealed the involvement of the FPC/OFC in pleasant emotion produced by gentle touch to the hand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May


  • Emotion
  • Pleasant touch
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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