Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The role of auditory itch contagion in psoriasis

Swithenbank, Samantha; Cowdell, Fiona; Holle, Henning


Samantha Swithenbank

Fiona Cowdell

Profile Image

Dr Henning Holle
Reader in Psychology / Leader of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience group (


Itch and associated scratching is a common and distressing symptom of psoriasis. Here, we tested whether people with psoriasis, relative to healthy controls, show an increased vulnerability to auditory itch contagion (a deleterious influence) when presented with sounds of itch-associated actions of scratching and rubbing. We were also interested in whether manipulating the high frequency volume of these sounds alters itch perception. Results show that both groups rated scratching sounds as more itch-inducing than rubbing sounds, and the amount of induced itch increased as a function of high frequency volume. Furthermore, the influence of high frequency volume on induced itch was more pronounced in the psoriasis group, relative to controls. These findings demonstrate the role of auditory cues in eliciting sensations of itchiness in the absence of peripheral stimulation. Reducing the high frequency volume of itch-associated sounds may offer a novel approach for targeted multisensory itch interventions.


Swithenbank, S., Cowdell, F., & Holle, H. (2016). The role of auditory itch contagion in psoriasis. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 96(6), 728-731.

Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2015
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Acta dermato-venereologica
Print ISSN 0001-5555
Electronic ISSN 1651-2057
Publisher Society for Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 96
Issue 6
Pages 728-731
Keywords Auditory itch contagion; Psiorasis
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted version of an article published in Acta dermato-venereologica, 2016, v.96 issue 6.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations