The skin, our magic suit
10 May 2022 at 16:00:00
Which one is our widest organ? Yes, the skin. And yet, we tend to forget that it is an organ. The skin wraps our entire body, physically and psychologically distinguishing the self from other. The skin protects our body and helps us to maintain an optimal temperature despite thermal challenges, but it is also an active tool we use to interact with the environment and with other people. This “magic suit” makes us perceive touch by sending signals to the brain, where the perception of tactile signals takes shape. From the womb to the end of our life, touch is the most important of the senses.
Laura Crucianelli is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. She is a cognitive neuroscientist with a strong interest in body ownership, and the perception of touch, temperature, and bodily physiological signals. Concurrently to her scientific career, she grew increasingly interested in science communication, policymaking, and gender equality. She has participated in public engagement events in London (Royal Institution, Tate Exchange), Stockholm (European Researchers’ Night), and Italy (Festival Vicino/Lontano, Skype a Scientist). Her essay published in the magazine AEON, The need to touch, has been translated into several languages and was followed by radio interviews and podcasts.