The Psychology of Touch

Ed Yong of Discover Magazine blogs about Joshua M. Ackerman, Christopher C. Nocera and John A. Bargh‘s research on the effects of touch. Yong summarizes: “Weight is linked to importance, so that people carrying heavy objects deem interview candidates as more serious and social problems as more pressing. Texture is linked to difficulty and harshness. Touching rough sandpaper makes social interactions seem more adversarial, while smooth wood makes them seem friendlier. Finally, hardness is associated with rigidity and stability. When sitting on a hard chair, negotiators take tougher stances but if they sit on a soft one instead, they become more flexible.” In the experiments, texture even affected the outcome of an?Ultimatum game. The authors point out that “[t]ouch is both the first sense to develop and a critical means of information acquisition and environmental manipulation.”[%comments]

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  1. Steve says:

    I’m going back to using my satellite phone.

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  2. Emmett Coin says:

    Think about what this says about bowling: People holding heavy, hard and smooth things and sitting in hard smooth plastic chairs. Do the players view their fellow bowlers as more competent and friendlier while at the same time being a tougher competitor?

    Should we put cushions on subway trains?

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  3. Howard Tayler says:

    This explains post trolling on the web! We just need to ban all those hardwood chairs and sandpaper keyboards people have installed!

    (My ergonomic keyboard obviously induces sarcasm.)

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