"An important component in the construction of the sense of self…"

Special Nerves Register the Emotional Context of a Pleasurable Touch:

“Scientists announced a study today that shows humans have a special set of nerves for feeling pleasure at a mother’s caress or a lover’s embrace.

These nerves are sensitive to the soft touch of fingers gliding over a forearm or a parent’s soothing hand, but not to rough touches, jabs or pinches. Scientists speculate that the nerves might be designed to guide humans toward tenderness and nurturing — a theory bolstered by the fact that the nerves are wired to the same brain areas activated by romantic love and sexual arousal. Although these special nerves, which have thin fibers and send relatively slow signals to the brain, had been identified in animals and humans, their role had been unclear…” Washington Post [thanks, Norton!]