Liverpool Skylilne

Natural Sciences and Psychology

Dr Connor Haggarty

Dr Connor Haggarty

Telephone: 0151 904 6136

website

Biography

Connor is currently lecturing in Psychology on courses associated with Cognitive and Biological Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Research methods and a personal tutor.

Connor Haggarty's PhD was looking at: Individual differences in the behavioural and physiological responses to affective touch.

Across the lifespan social tactile interactions have been shown to benefit an individual’s physical health and psychological well-being. There are two different types of touch signalled by different nerves in the skin. The first allows us to distinguish between objects we come into contact with and to localise touch on the skin. These are signalled by relatively large diameter fast-conducting nerves. The second type of touch is the emotional information about sensation; these are conveyed by small diameter slow-conducting nerves. Typically these ‘C-type’ nerves are associated with signalling the emotional qualities of pain and itch. However, it is a recently discovered subtype of these C-type nerves that I’m most interested in.The C-Tactile afferents or CTs are very picky about the type of touch they respond to. Touch must be slow moving not static, it must be gentle not forceful and the temperature of the touch should be around 30 degrees. We know this because direct measurement from these nerves show their activation is directly tied to these criteria. These criteria suggest that CTs have evolved to signal the rewarding value of social tactile interactions like a gentle caress.
This is important because touch is a key regulator of our emotional arousal and plays an integral role in our early social development. So what would happen if we didn't receive comfort or reprieve from negative emotional situations? Imagine if the typically pleasant sensations that we perceive during CT activation were unpleasant. What consequences would this have on a developing infant?

The aim of my research was to discover how trait sociability affected the processes involved in CT-optimal touch experience. Using brain imaging methods and physiological techniques, I measured these differences comparing CT-optimal and non-CT-optimal touch across populations.


This project was supervised by:
Dr. Susannah Walker
Dr. David Moore
Prof. Francis McGlone

Degrees

2018, Liverpool John Moores University, UK, PhD Cognitive Neuroscience
2014, Aston University, United Kingdom, M.Sc Cognitive Neuroscience
2011, Bangor University, United Kingdom, B.Sc Psychology with Neuropsychology

Academic appointments

Lecturer in Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2019 - present
Sessional Demonstrator, Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2014 - 2017

Publications

Thesis/Dissertation

Haggarty CJ. Individual Differences in Behavioural and Physiological Responses to Affective Touch Walker S, Moore D, McGlone FP. >Public Url

Engagement & Impact

Conference presentation:

Individual differences in the behavioural and physiological responses to affective touch, Liverpool Neuroscience Day, Liverpool, Oral presentation 14/06/2019

Trait differences in sociabiltiy modulate cortical responses to affective but not discriminative touch, International Association for the Study of Affective Touch, Liverpool, Oral presentation 02/09/2017

Membership of professional bodies:

Member, British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience, http://www.bacn.co.uk/index.html

Member, International Association for the Study of Affective Touch, https://iasat.org/

Member, Liverpool Neuroscience Group, https://lng.org.uk/