04 March 2010

The influence of touch

Mind Hacks links to a NY Times review of research showing how touch influences social interactions: for example, a light touch by a doctor on a patient's arm increases the patient's perception of the length of a consultation, or the likelihood of their taking drugs compliantly; sports teams that have more physical contact between members appear to perform better than those that have less.

An interpretation is offered: touch indicates a shared enterprise, shared responsibility. I wonder. When I'm feeling particularly English and spikey touch from a person with whom I have no particular social bond can seem quite inappropriate and intrusive. The NYT results come from North America. Would they apply in northern Europe?

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