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The Effect of Affective State on Tactile Sensitivity

Cannell, Grace (2014) The Effect of Affective State on Tactile Sensitivity. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Infection from pathogens are the remaining threat that controls the human population and, evolutionarily speaking, the reproductive success of human beings. Past research demonstrates that disease avoidance encompasses not only a physiological response, but also that of a behavioural and psychological nature. There is bountiful research relating to disease avoidance behaviours being induced through indirect and direct exposure to disease salient stimuli and how the skin behaves as a barrier protecting the body. Jack Cotter (2011), attempted to identify a link hypothesizing that tactile sensitivity would increase, but did not gain significant results when testing disgust and two-point discrimination threshold using an aesthesiometer. The present study sought to modify and repeat Cotter's study. Forty participants completed the study consisting of exposure to neutral stimuli, a tactile sensitivity test, a distraction task, exposure to fear or disgust-related stimuli and then another tactile sensitivity test. T-tests and an ANOVA identified a significant change in tactile sensitivity with those induced in to pathogen disgust, as opposed to those induced in to fear. Slight gender differences identified were not concluded to be statistically significant. Repetition of the study with a larger sample could amend the short comings of this experiment, clarify the ambiguity still surrounding gender differences and distinction between fear and disgust-related stimuli, it may also increase the reliability of these results and equipment used.

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