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The Language of Social Touch Is Intuitive and Quantifiable
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0544-6533
Univ Virginia, VA 22903 USA.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2803-3069
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2022 (English)In: Psychological Science, ISSN 0956-7976, E-ISSN 1467-9280, Vol. 33, no 9, p. 1477-1494Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Touch is a powerful communication tool, but we have a limited understanding of the role played by particular physical features of interpersonal touch communication. In this study, adults living in Sweden performed a task in which messages (attention, love, happiness, calming, sadness, and gratitude) were conveyed by a sender touching the forearm of a receiver, who interpreted the messages. Two experiments (N = 32, N = 20) showed that within close relationships, receivers could identify the intuitive touch expressions of the senders, and we characterized the physical features of the touches associated with successful communication. Facial expressions measured with electromyography varied by message but were uncorrelated with communication performance. We developed standardized touch expressions and quantified the physical features with 3D hand tracking. In two further experiments (N = 20, N = 16), these standardized expressions were conveyed by trained senders and were readily understood by strangers unacquainted with the senders. Thus, the possibility emerges of a standardized, intuitively understood language of social touch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications Inc , 2022. Vol. 33, no 9, p. 1477-1494
Keywords [en]
touch; social interaction; emotions; facial expressions; communication; open data; open materials
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-187719DOI: 10.1177/09567976211059801ISI: 000838571200001PubMedID: 35942875Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85135824211OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-187719DiVA, id: diva2:1691204
Note

Funding Agencies|Facebook; Swedish Research Council

Available from: 2022-08-29 Created: 2022-08-29 Last updated: 2023-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Mcintyre, SarahBöhme, RebeccaHomman, LinaNovembre, GiovanniNagi, SaadOlausson, Håkan

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Mcintyre, SarahKusztor, AnikóBöhme, RebeccaMoungou, AthanasiaIsager, PederHomman, LinaNovembre, GiovanniNagi, SaadOlausson, Håkan
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Center for Social and Affective NeuroscienceFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesCenter for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)Disability Research DivisionDivision of Ageing and Social ChangeFaculty of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Clinical Neurophysiology
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