Category Archives: News

Congratulations to Dr Krahé!

Dr Charlotte Krahé has been awarded the Psychology Department ECR Publication Prize for 2016-17 with her paper ‘Affective touch and attachment style modulate pain: a laser-evoked potentials study’. Many congratulations for an excellent piece of work!

Congratulations to Laura and Katerina!

Laura Crucianelli  has been awarded an international Neuropsychoanalysis fellowship to examine the effect of oxytocin and affective touch in Anorexia Nervosa. 

Together with Dr Fotopoulou, she has also been awarded the Fund for Psychoanalytic Research from the American Psychoanalytic Association

Congratulations to Laura Crucianelli on submitting her PhD thesis!

Laura Crucianelli

Laura Crucianelli

Congratulations to Katlab member Laura Crucianelli on completing her PhD thesis on the 21st of April, 2016! Her PhD project investigated pleasant touch, sense of body ownership and interoceptive awareness in both healthy and clinical populations, and has led to a number of high profile publications and media interest. Well done you, Laura!




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Laura in the lab

Best Oral Communication Prize

Katlab member Laura Crucianelli was awarded the ‘Best Oral Communication Prize’ for her talk on “Bodily pleasure and the self: Experimental and clinical studies on affective touch” at at the School of Life and Medical Sciences Research Conference at the University of Hertfordshire, Tuesday 5th of April.


Congratulations Laura!!

Katlab Anorexia Research in the News

Headline in Medical Xpress:Patients with anorexia feel less bodily pleasure’

“Patients with anorexia nervosa perceive physical touch in social interactions as less pleasurable than healthy people of the same age, reveals new research by University of Hertfordshire PhD student Laura Crucianelli. The cause of this reduced feeling of pleasantness may be a problem with a nerve system (called CT-afferents) specialised for perceiving pleasant touch.”

Read the full article here.


Your Movement Speed alters your Confidence in your Own Decisions

article_pictureWhile at the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting in Chicago in October, Katlab PhD student Eleanor Palser was interviewed about the research project she was presenting, for an article in Brain Decoder.


..”We seem to be using our movement to make judgments about completely unrelated things,” Palser said. “It’s like what your grandmother says – stand up straight, be more confident – because there’s a relationship between how you are in your body and how you feel.” She is now planning to work with patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease: “These disorders cause a slowing down of movements, but do they make people less confident?”


Read the full article here.

medical daily

Katlab in the news: Media coverage of Current Biology paper

Find a full list of links to all articles written about our finding of a social softness illusion below:

If you’ve covered the findings and don’t see your article below, please get in touch.

medical dailyTempted To Touch: The ‘Social Softness Illusion’ Makes Other People’s Skin Feel Softer So We Can Build Social Bonds – Medical Daily



latimesDoes another person’s skin feel softer than yours? It’s an illusion





siasatYour partner’s soft skin just an illusion





psychcentralTouch Instills Social Bonds





wsfaSoft skin of others may be an illusion






dailymailYour lover’s skin isn’t as soft as you think: Sensation is an illusion created by your brain to enhance sex, study reveals




throbYour Beloved’s Soft Skin Is Just an Illusion



todayDoes someone else’s skin feel softer than your own? Science explains why





usnewsSoft Skin of Others May Be an Illusion, Study Says



startatsixtyProven by science: Why your grandchild’s cheek is so irresistible





frenchtribuneSofter skin of partner is an illusion, study






micThere’s a Scientific Reason Why It Feels So Damn Good to Cuddle





timesLovers’ soft skin is just an illusion,3O45I,3YPC69,D7SUJ,1

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Katlab in the International Press

La peau douce, une illusion sociale

Le Monde featured an article on the social softness illusion and an interview with Kat.

“…« Ce qu’il y a de plus profond dans l’homme, c’est la peau », avait anticipé Paul Valéry. De fait, le toucher affectif joue un rôle central dans les bases des interactions sociales. Il est aussi vital dans la construction d’une personne, dans ses attachements et son développement cognitif…”

le mondeRead the full article here.

Las caricias son un <<pegamento social>> que engaña al cerebro

The social softness illusion was also featured in the Spanish media and Katerina was interviewed by ABC about the social softness illusion:

“…«El estudio proporciona la primera evidencia sistemática de que se siente un placer sensorial al acariciar a otros», explica a ABC Katerina Fotopoulou, directora del estudio e investigadora en el University College de Londres. «Ya se conocían los beneficios del “tacto afectivo” en las personas que reciben las caricias, pero nuestro trabajo se centra en la recompensa que obtiene el que toca y en los mecanismos psicológicos y fisiológicos que pueden intervenir»….”

Social softness illusion

Read the full article here.

La sensación de suavidad con una caricia es solo una ilusión creada por el cerebro

And the story was also covered in Pulzo:

“Así lo probó un estudio publicado por la revista Current Biology, que concluyó que esa sensación al rozar la piel no se da como la mayoría piensa.

Según la investigación, citada por ABC de España, la piel no es tan suave como percibimos y la ilusión responde a la velocidad de la caricia y depende mucho de la zona acariciada….”

Read the full article here.


You think other people’s skin feels softer than your own

Katlab’s latest published research on the social softness illusion is covered by the media:

“Getting a caress or a pat on the back from someone you love is comforting, but not just for you. A new study suggests that when we touch other people, we get pleasure ourselves. Other people’s skin feels softer than our own, suggesting our brain is creating an illusion based on its expectation of pleasure for the person being stroked….”



Read the full Braindecoder article here.