The Benefits of Touching

‘Touch­i­er’ bas­ket­ball teams and play­ers (those who bump, hug and high five the most) are more suc­cess­ful than those who lim­it their non-play­ing phys­ic­al con­tact. Sim­il­arly, high­er sat­is­fac­tion has been repor­ted in romantic rela­tion­ships in which the part­ners touch more.

Just two of the find­ings from research look­ing at the import­ance of touch­ing in rela­tion­ships.

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. […] A mas­sage from a loved one can not only ease pain but also soothe depres­sion and strengthen a rela­tion­ship.

via @charliehoehn

One thought on “The Benefits of Touching

  1. david

    Based on the examples you cite in the first para­graph, I was totally call­ing bull­shit on this. This para­graph makes me a little less dubi­ous, but still gives me pause:

    To cor­rect for the pos­sib­il­ity that the bet­ter teams touch more often simply because they are win­ning, the research­ers rated per­form­ance based not on points or vic­tor­ies but on a soph­ist­ic­ated meas­ure of how effi­ciently play­ers and teams man­aged the ball — their ratio of assists to giveaways, for example. And even after the high expect­a­tions sur­round­ing the more tal­en­ted teams were taken into account, the cor­rel­a­tion per­sisted. Play­ers who made con­tact with team­mates most con­sist­ently and longest ten­ded to rate highest on meas­ures of per­form­ance, and the teams with those play­ers seemed to get the most out of their tal­ent.

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