Not all tactile stimulations are social touches: The role of realism and context on mediated social touch experiences

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

Abstract

Mediated social touch (MST) promises physical contact over distance, through the use of haptic technology. However, existing research aimed at testing the efficacy of MST has not convincingly demonstrated that MST can replicate the effects of naturalistic social touch. There are two possible explanations for this. The first is the low-fidelity of current day tactile displays, which are not able to realistically mimic the sensation of a social touch. The second is that the field of MST has not sufficiently taken into account that social touch is more than tactile stimulation, but involves contextual factors, including other verbal and nonverbal cues, as well as social norms regarding who touches whom, when, and how, that together shape the meaning of a touch act. In this paper, we discuss the findings of our research, which has focused on enhancing the realism of MST by creating more transparent interfaces, and on investigating how contextual factors affect the experience and perception of MST. Our findings underscore the importance of gaining a better understanding of what the essential characteristics of social touch are that, when mediated, can turn a tactile stimulus into a social touch.

Keywords: mediated social touch, contextual factors, affective haptic devices, computer mediated communication, haptic feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2020
Event12th International Conference on Human Haptic Sensing and Touch Enabled Computer Applications - Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 6 Sep 20209 Sep 2020

Conference

Conference12th International Conference on Human Haptic Sensing and Touch Enabled Computer Applications
Abbreviated titleEuroHaptics 2020
CountryNetherlands
CityLeiden
Period6/09/209/09/20

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