February 25th, 2010 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal
Feb. 25th, 2010
The evidence that such messages can lead to clear, almost immediate changes in how people think and behave is accumulating fast. Students who received a supportive touch on the back or arm from a teacher were nearly twice as likely to volunteer in class as those who did not, studies have found. A sympathetic touch from a doctor leaves people with the impression that the visit lasted twice as long, compared with estimates from people who were untouched. Research by Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute in Miami has found that a massage from a loved one can not only ease pain but also soothe depression and strengthen a relationship.
In a series of experiments led by Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, volunteers tried to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, some with about 70 percent accuracy.
Via Irina Almgren
When we're hungry, it's simple — we eat. When we're thirsty, we drink. But what about when you just want to and need to be touched? There are no touch cafés. Touch doesn't come as a gift with purchase at the Lancôme counter. And if you're not in a romantic relationship, how do you fill up your touch tank to full?
There are often not enough outlets for affection in platonic relationships. Friends provide emotional support, memorable nights out, advice and adventures, but few friendships are so close that it's comfortable and acceptable for you two to, say, snuggle on the couch together, or hold each other in a longer-than-usual embrace — one long enough to communicate sincerity but short enough not to be awkward. The line becomes especially blurred if you're of compatible sexual orientations, because, oh my god, then it must mean you like each other.
Via David Weekly.
Touching is the most intense channel of nonverbal communication and the one most people are reluctant to discuss. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, giving and receiving love and affection is a foundation element. It is like the sun in the midst of the solar system--everything else revolves around it. Touch is one manifestation of the love and consideration that all people need in order to survive. Love and touch are indivisible (Key, 1975; Montagu, 1971; Montagu & Matson, 1979). Throughout people's lives, "touch is no short-lived event, finished when a hand is removed from the person, but rather is perceived as part of one's history, an event of real magnitude, effecting some permanent change" (Henley, 1973, p. 96).
If touch is so important, why is it so relatively rare in the United States? According to anthropologists, the United States is a non-tactile society. In fact, compared with cultures around the world, the mainstream U.S. citizen seems to be "touchy" about touching. French parents touch their children three times more often than do U.S. parents. Men in the Middle East, Korea, China, and Indochina walk arm-and-arm or hold hands without any homosexual undertones. Jewish men are very tactile; they often embrace and kiss. Puerto Rican couples might touch approximately 180 times in an hour; French pairs touch 110 times; couples in Florida touch twice; and couples in London don't touch at all (Axtell, 1991; Colt, 1997; Jourard, 1983; Montagu & Matson, 1979).
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