My main research interest is social interaction, particularly paradigms and practices related to social touching behaviour.
There's surprisingly little that we know about how humans use social touch. What do different types of touch mean? How does the meaning change depending on things like who (e.g. mother, stranger, friend) is doing the touching? Or where (e.g. home, office, hospital) the touching occurs? I'm studying these questions using many different methods, such as asking people, imaging their brains, and gathering data of people's touching behavior as they go about their daily lives.
Below you can find some of my publications and teaching materials related to social touch, and if you have ideas or questions you can also contact me directly. Or maybe you'd like to participate in an online experiment or two?
Nummenmaa, L., Suvilehto, J., Glerean, E., Santtila, P., & Hietanen, J.K. (2016). Topography of human erogenous zones. Archives of Sexual Behaviour. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0745-z. [pdf]
Suvilehto, J., Glerean, E., Dunbar, R.I.M., Hari, R., Nummenmaa, L. (2015) Topography of social touching depends on emotional bonds between humans Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of United States of America doi:10.1073/pnas.1519231112. [pdf]
Relationship specific encoding of social touch in the somatosensory cortices?
Poster presented at Society for Neuroscience 2016 [pdf]
Topography of human erogenous zones
Poster presented at Brain and Mind doctoral program symposium 2015 [pdf]
U Can't Touch This
Poster presented at Society for Affective Science 2014 [pdf]