At the start of the COVID19 pandemic I initiated with a few colleagues and students a survey to investigate the effects of social distancing regulations on touch deprivation and touch perception.
The findings of this study are now published in Scientific Reports, the paper is open access available here.
In October we collected data on touch preferences at the Betweter Festival in Utrecht.
We teamed up with Circus Andersom and set up the “Gewenste Intimiteiten” (wanted intimacies) experiment. We asked participants to stroke each other’s arms and to rate how pleasant they found the stroking. A short impression of the experiment (in Dutch) can be found here.
This week Jojanneke Bijsterbosch published the first paper of her PhD project on the association between intolerance of uncertainty, worry and weight and shape concerns in eating disorder patients. She specifically focused on adolescent girls with anorexia, which makes this paper a unique contribution to the literature, which is mainly on adult anorexia patients.
The study Manja and Stephen did at Monash University in Melbourne is now published in Brain and Behavior. You can find it here.
In the paper we show that nonperceptual factors, such as response time, may influence tactile distance estimations.
During the Europe VR Days Dr Ineke van der Ham and myself gave a joint talk on what it means to have a body in VR. Our talk was part of the Cinedans symposium on dance and embodiment in the virtual world. It marked the kick off of the exciting VRLab that Cinedans is organizing in 2022.
In the beginning of October we conducted a live experiment called “gewenste intimiteiten” at Betweter festival in Utrecht to investigate how people experience touch after a long period of relatively strict social distancing regulations. We teamed up with Circus Andersom who joined the festival with their “please touch” experience.
Mirthe van der Drift participated in our experiment and interviewed me about social touch for Focus on NPO radio1. You can listen to it here.
We were invited to contribute a piece to the special issue on social and affective touch in Current Opinion In Behavioural Sciences.
Our paper in this special issue is now published and discusses whether trandiagnostic factors influence affective touch perception in psychiatric patients.
Read our paper here or browse through the entire special issue (much recommended!) here.
Our paper on the link between anxiety and assessment of body attitudes and body size estimation in anorexia nervosa patients has just been published in Journal of Experimental Psychopathology. We show that in AN patients state anxiety levels increase after completing different body size estimation tasks, implying that altered performance on body size estimation taks in anorexia might not only imply misperception of body size but also reflect increased state anxiety.
Read the paper here
My lecture for the University of the Netherlands on why anorexia patients feel fat is now online you can watch it here.
During the summer period I worked an a very special project with psychologist Barbara Montagne from GGZ Centraal and movie maker Lieza Röben. The project is called “Huidhonger: Op Slot – portretten uit de psychiatrie”. We made short films in which we show how psychiatric patients experienced the lockdown and social distancing regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also working on a quantitative and qualitative research project focusing on this issue.
The three short movies are covered nicely here (in Dutch) and can be found here (with English subtitles): Jasper; Marli; Anne.
Feel free to share them!