If asked, most people are willing to give up their sense of touch. Yet of the five senses in the human body, touch has proven to be incredibly important. According to Dr. David Linden, Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, touch is connected to emotion via our nervous system. The way humans feel and react to physical touch has an effect on everything from personality to digestive system functionality. Dr. Linden says, “The touches we share with those we love make the sense of touch much more important than we know.” Without a sense of touch, individuals are much more susceptible to health issues, as they may not feel pain or temperature and receive great injury. Additionally, touch is perceived as essential to newborns and its absence is noticeable. Dr. Linden shares a story about children in an understaffed orphanage in Romania that grew up to have neuropsychiatric issues as a result of not being held and cuddled as infants. Although the sense of touch is not commonly understood as vital to our wellbeing, both the lack of physical touch from others and our own sense of feeling may prove fatal in the end.
Synopsis: The sense of touch is often taken lightly, yet it conveys more emotion than any other sense because it literally has a separate emotional wiring system. A neuroscientist explains the sense of touch, how it works, the power it has over everyday decisions, and what can happen when it’s not working as it should.
Host: Nancy Benson. Guest: Dr. David Linden, Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author, Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind