Category Archives: News

It is with great PANIC that we note and communicate the passing of Jaak Panksepp.

Jaak was a pioneer in neuroscience, arguing for the importance of the subcortical and the ‘affective’ in neuroscience when others were and sometimes are still lost in the narrow lenses of  behaviourism. His views have influenced our work on primary emotions, social relating, oxytocin, attachment, consciousness, pain and affective touch. His contributions to the field of Neuropsychoanalysis are simply irreplaceable. Importantly to this lab, he was a generous and wise mentor to more junior scientists, the kind of person you wanted to meet in conferences and get his perspective on your life as much as you wanted to tell him about your science. The kind of person who CARED and wanted to save you the FEAR of science.

His wife and writer Anesa Miller has been posting on their website to keep his friends and colleagues informed of his recent health struggles.

She poignantly wrote today: “His color is gone, his breath is gone, his pain is gone. Still, I just can’t be sure”.

For all of us that SEEK to follow in tiny steps the wide neuroscientific path Jaak set out for us, we will never be sure. No matter how far affective neuroscience and neuropsychoanalysis will go, Jaak will always be there holding our hand, tickling our rats, refusing to apologise for CARE, for LUST, for RAGE and perhaps most importantly for PLAY.



Best Oral Communication Prize

Katlab member and University of Hertfordshire PhD student Sonia Ponzo was awarded the ‘Best Oral Communication Prize’ for her talk “See it, feel it, own it: How galvanic vestibular stimulation enhances body ownership during the rubber hand illusion” at at the School of Life and Medical Sciences Research Conference at the University of Hertfordshire, Tuesday 4th of April 2017.


Congratulations Sonia!!

Congratulations to Dr Krahé!

Dr Charlotte Krahé has been awarded the Psychology Department ECR Publication Prize, King’s College London, 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.

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