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"Teder" behaviour (tenderness) – an exploration into the neural pathways of mild touch perception in mammals and birds

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A category of teder interaction is proposed as the main source of (mutual) mild touch stimuli in higher vertebrates. The somatosensory circuits for the perception of these stimuli in mammals and birds are discussed using data from the literature. In addition to the usual somatosensory areas of the brain, in mammals mild touch signals are also conducted to the insula, which is closely connected to the limbic system. This separate processing of mild touch stimuli lends more substance to the category of teder behaviour. The comparable neuroanatomy in birds is more difficult to interpret. There are some intriguing parallels between the relevant circuits of mammals and birds, though in the telencephalic parts in particular, conclusions are limited by uncertainties as to the homologies of the mammalian and avian brains.

Affiliations: 1: Section Integrative Zoology; Institute of Biology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9516, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; 2: Section Behavioural Biology; Institute of Biology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9516, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands


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