Study explains why some people are more tactile than others

Study explains why some people are more tactile than others

Are you tactile by nature? If your education and your personality can play a role, it is mainly your brain which is responsible for this faculty.

Do you enjoy handing out hugs all the time? Know that this behavior says a lot about your… brain! A specific gene would in fact be linked to this surprising need for physical contact. The results of this study appeared in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinologie.

The release of oxytocin leads to a need for affection

Kisses, hand on the shoulder… While some greatly appreciate signs of affection, others, conversely, may feel it as an intrusion into their personal space.

Except that if we think, wrongly, that it is a simple character trait – to be or not to be tactile, that is the question – researchers affirm that the CD38 gene would be responsible for this behavior.

And for good reason: it would be involved in the release of oxytocin, a hormone which plays an essential role in social bonds. In particular, it helps increase the feeling of attachment and affection.

That’s why American and German scientists tried to find out more – by observing the behaviors of young parents and those of infants, aged 7 to 36 months, in search of cuddles and affection.

Result ? The team found a marked difference in young children’s seeking of physical contact.

Our work shows “qA polymorphism in CD38, previously linked to increased oxytocin release in adults, was associated with higher reported rates of cuddling. In contrast, infants with the CD38 genotype previously linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and reduced oxytocin release in adults were associated with lower rates of cuddling,” the researchers point out.These results support the hypothesis that, from early in human ontogeny, genetic variation in the oxytocin system is systematically linked to individual differences in reported motivation to seek and enjoy pleasant contact with the caregiver..”

Good in his body, good in his head!

Other factors are decisive

Beyond the undeniable role that oxytocin plays in the body, other factors can influence an individual’s tactile behavior. Cultural norms and individual experiences can thus shape perception and receptivity to touch.

Emotions, personality and the environment in which we operate also play an important role in the perception of touch.