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Contract number
Time span of the project
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since February 2023 Khramov Alexander Yevgenyevich
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General information

Name of the project:

Tactile defensiveness and methods of overcoming it: the impact of tactile contacts on psychoemotional and social development in humans.

Goals and objectives

Goals of project:

To create a world-class laboratory in Russia that will focus on the study of the psychological, biological and cultural aspects of tactile perception and tactile communication as well as to conduct basic and translation research aimed at the investigation of the impact of social tactile contacts on psychoemotional and social development in humans.

Project objective: 

  • The first group of problems solved in the course of the project is devoted to the study of the biological, social, cultural and language factors that influence the emotional aspects of tactile perception and attitude towards social tactical contacts.

1.1. The biological and social mechanisms that determine the emotional  aspects of tactile  perception

1.1.1. The role of myelinated and unmyelinated  mechanosensitive afferents in the formation of various tactile sensations and the emotional aspect of touch perception: the psychophysical, electrophysiological and neurometabolic research.

1.1.2. To research the role of age-related peculiarities of tactile perception and attitude towards touches.
1.2. Touches in communication: a culturological,  linguistic and semiotic analysis.
1.2.1. Peculiarities of the use of tactile gestures in the the Russian-language culture of Russian-speaking regions: a corpus-based and experimental research.
1.2.2. A cross-cultural research of the semiotic nature of tactile gestures: determining the culture-specific and the invariant component of the semantics.

1.3. The biological and social causes of tactile defensiveness and negative attitude to social tactile contacts.

1.3.1. A psychophysical, electrophysiological and neurometabolic  research of knismesis.
1.3.2. The social and psychological factors, genetic factors and peculiarities of development contributing to tactile defensiveness.

  • The second group of problems solved in the course of the project is devoted to transnational research for the development of scientifically substantiated approaches to rehabilitation relying on tactile impact and the assessment of the efficiency of these approaches for the reduction of the risks of developmental disorders, psychoemotional and neurological disorders in infants.

2. The role of tactile contacts in infant development.

2.1. To develop rehabilitation  methodologies based on tactile contact accounting for possible  tactile defensiveness, individual features of perception and the traditional cultural patterns social interaction.
2.2. Prospective randomized multicenter research: the assessment of the impact of family massage on the psychoemotional development,  the neurological and epileptic status of children aged 0 to 3 from high-risk groups in terms of neurological disorders and developmental disorders (prematurely born children, children who suffered a birth trauma, children having close relatives with disorders of autism spectrum disorders. 
Research directions: Psychology and pedagogy

The practical value of the study

Planned project results:

  1. To create a world-class interdisciplinary laboratory devoted to the study of the social and emotional aspects of tactile perception – the first laboratory in Russia performing research with the use of robotic tactile stimulation and a wide range of psychophysical, psychometric, psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods.
  2. Accumulating fundamentally new information concerning the psychological and neurobiological causes of tactile defensiveness and the role of С-tactile system in human social and psychoemotional development.
  3. To create a battery of psychophysical and psychometric instruments in the Russian language for the assessment of features and disorders of tactile perception specifically designed for particular clinical samples as well as methods of the assessment and research of sensory peculiarities. The creation of an English-language version of the questionnaires will allow to conduct cross-cultural research more efficiently.
  4. A rehabilitation methodology based on family tactile interactions and aimed at preventing psychoemotional and neurological conditions and decreasing the risk of developmental disorders.
  5. Practical recommendations for healthcare and education professionals as well as for the general public and for parents of children with special needs. Integrating the results of the project in the education activity of the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute and the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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