Textures that we like to touch: an experimental study of aesthetic preferences for tactile stimuli.
Etzi R., Spence C., Gallace A.
We report two experiments designed to investigate the nature of aesthetic preferences for tactile textures in humans. In Experiment 1, the participants rated their preference for a range of actively and passively explored textures presented on their hands and on their cheeks. The results revealed that those textures that were subjectively-rated as smoother were preferred over those that were rated as rougher. Moreover, certain textures were disliked more during active than during passive stimulation. In Experiment 2, the speed of tactile stimulation was controlled in order to elicit vigorous responses from C-tactile fibers (present only in hairy skin), which are thought to play a central role in pleasant aspects of touch. The results revealed that textures were preferred when presented on the hairy skin of the forearm than on the glabrous palm of the hand. These results provide preliminary evidence regarding people's preferences for different attributes of tactile surface.