The self-regulatory affective touch: a speculative framework for the development of executive functioning

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • T. Farroni - (Author)
  • L. Della Longa - (Author)
  • I. Valori - , University of Padua (Author)


Sensitive periods soon after birth seem to be crucial for mapping brain networks and enable the development of healthy sensory responses in adulthood. Affective tactile experiences are at the core of interpersonal interactions in the neonatal period and represent a scaffolding for early development of autonomic self-regulation, which then becomes part of more complex patterns of social exchanges and executive functions across the first years of life. In the present article we reviewed recent studies that investigated physiological and behavioural responses to tactile stimulations across development, supporting our claim that affective touch is an essential part of early emerging self-regulatory skills with important cascade effects on infants’ socio-emotional and cognitive developmental trajectories.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in behavioral sciences
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

Scopus 85119294525
Mendeley be3f2cc5-aae8-3338-8f9e-51cf57549570
WOS 000721033700001


Sustainable Development Goals


  • To-skin contact, Unmyelinated afferents, Tactile stimulation, Premature-infants, Early-childhood, Still-face, Care, Perception, Reactivity, Responses