Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

by Matthew Cobb

Everyone knows that kittehs love being stroked. Indeed it’s something that is common to many mammals. But why and how? A paper in Nature by Sophia Vrontou and co-workers addresses the “how” question – that is, what are the underlying mechanisms – looking at mice. The opening sentences are limpid:

Stroking of the skin produces pleasant sensations that can occur during social interactions with conspecifics, such as grooming: Despite numerous physiological studies, molecularly defined sensory neurons that detect pleasant stroking of hairy skin in vivo have not been reported.

They identified a particular set of sensory neurons that innervate hairy skin in mice and are activated by stroking, not pinching, and were able to show that this stimulation is apparently rewarding for the mice.

I won’t go into it any more, because Nature has made an excellent LOLcat video which explains everything about the mechanism [MAKE…

View original 67 more words

About these ads

About marksolock

I am a lawyer in Chicago with interests in pop culture and current politics.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s