Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Skin as a Social Organ. Part 2h: Social bonding's broader context.

The paper, The skin as a social organ

Previous introductory blogpost to this series.    Preamble: Random thoughts on spas

Part 1: Dual nature of touch: as PTs, do we "get" this? Part 1a: Touch can be pleasant, rilling Part 1b: Vallbo on C-tactiles 

Part 2a: Different kinds of touch Part 2b: Proxemics Part 2c: The sad dearth of manual therapy aspects in reviews of interpersonal touch Part 2d: Learning to sit still, learning to behave, learning to not be connected to oneself Part 2e: Touch early, touch often Part 2f: Human allogrooming Part 2g: Bonding aspects of social grooming. 

Next piece:
"Positive affect and hedonic feelings may be the glue which holds individuals, as necessarily physically separate beings, together in social bonds. Grooming, indeed, may reflect a generalized form of pair-bonding usually seen in reproductive or mother–offspring dyads across numerous taxa (Dunbar 2008). As such it may rely on similar neural and physiological mechanisms as the dyadic cases. For example, in addition to its role in maternal behaviors, the neurotransmitter oxytocin is also an important mediator of grooming (Drago et al. 1986), as demonstrated by the exaggerated grooming behavior that results when it is administered into the cerebrospinal fluid of knockout mice which do not express oxytocin (Amico et al. 2004). Endorphins may also play a central role in grooming. In both talapoin monkeys (Keverne et al. 1989) and rhesus macaques (Martel et al. 1995), opioid receptor blockade results in increased solicitations for grooming. Dopamine may also be important in affiliative behavior and bonding (Depue and Morrone-Strupinsky 2005)."

Drago F, Caldwell JD, Pedersen CA, Continella G, Scapagnini U, Prange AJ Jr (1986) Dopamine neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens may be involved in oxytocin-enhanced grooming behavior of the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 24:1185–1188

Amico JA, Vollmer RR, Karam JR, Lee PR, Li X, Koenig JI, McCarthy MM (2004) Centrally administered oxytocin elicits exaggerated grooming in oxytocin null mice. Pharmacol Bio- chem Behav 2004(78):333–339

Keverne EB, Martensz ND, Tuite B (1989) Beta-endorphin concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of monkeys are influenced by grooming relationships. Psychoneuroendocrinology 14:155–161

Martel F, Nevison C, Simpson M, Keverne E (1995) Effects of opioid receptor blockade on the social behavior of rhesus monkeys living in large family groups. Dev Psychobiol 28:71–84


I know I'm losing interest in a project when I'd rather spend my time doing jigsaw puzzles on an iPad than blogging. Seriously.

Right now, I have no dopamine for this series. I do so dislike leaving things undone after I've committed myself to doing them.  But I'm also somebody who likes to fully utilize my own critter brain, especially in the motivation department, and right now, my critter brain doesn't want to do this anymore. I think it has become bored.

I won't close the project, but I will meander away from it, turn my back on it completely, blog about other topics for awhile. I don't know for how long. The way my brain recycles, and the way life presents intersecting criss-crosses in bits and pieces read here and there, I'm sure I'll wander back.

Topics in this paper left to cover:
1. Touch as communication
2. Pathways of pleasant touch
3. C-tactile fibres
4. Where pleasant touch lands in the brain
5. Intersubjective representation
6. How it all ties in with empathy.

These are all fascinating, but I've got to go do other things for a little while. I'm waiting for a new book to come, Neurobiology of Grooming Behavior. Well, not "new" - it was published a few years ago, but relatively new, and new to me. It might serve as re-inspiration. Or not. We'll see.

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