Affective touch communication in close adult relationships

Sarah McIntyre, Rebecca Boehme, Håkan Olausson, Peder Isager, Freddy Abnousi, Ellen A. Lumpkin, Ali Israr, Frances Lau, Athanasia Monguo

Research output: Working paperAcademic

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Inter-personal touch is a powerful aspect of social interaction that we expect to be particularly important for emotional communication. We studied the capacity of closely acquainted humans to signal the meaning of several word cues (e.g. gratitude, sadness) using touch sensation alone. Participants communicated all cues with above chance performance. We show that emotionally close people can accurately signal the meaning of different words through touch, and that performance is affected by the amount of contextual information available. Even with minimal context and feedback, both attention-getting and love were communicated surprisingly well. Neither the type of close relationship, nor self-reported comfort with touch significantly affected performance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019

Publication series

PublisherCornell University Library


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