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The (Null) Effect of Affective Touch on Betrayal Aversion, Altruism, and Risk Taking
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (JEDILab)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. (JEDILab)
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Decis Research, OR USA. (JEDILab)
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2017 (English)In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5153, E-ISSN 1662-5153, Vol. 11, article id 251Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pleasant touch is thought to increase the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin, in turn, has been extensively studied with regards to its effects on trust and prosocial behavior, but results remain inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of touch on economic decision making. Participants (n = 120) were stroked on their left arm using a soft brush (touch condition) or not at all (control condition; varied within subjects), while they performed a series of decision tasks assessing betrayal aversion (the Betrayal Aversion Elicitation Task), altruism (donating money to a charitable organization), and risk taking (the Balloon Analog Risk Task). We found no significant effect of touch on any of the outcome measures, neither within nor between subjects. Furthermore, effects were not moderated by gender or attachment. However, attachment avoidance had a significant effect on altruism in that those who were high in avoidance donated less money. Our findings contribute to the understanding of affective touch-and, by extension, oxytocin-in social behavior, and decision making by showing that touch does not directly influence performance in tasks involving risk and prosocial decisions. Specifically, our work casts further doubt on the validity of oxytocin research in humans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA , 2017. Vol. 11, article id 251
Keywords [en]
touch; oxytocin; betrayal aversion; altruism; risk taking; trust
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144145DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00251ISI: 000418282900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-144145DiVA, id: diva2:1172590
Note

Funding Agencies|Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation [2014.0187]; Ragnar Soderberg Foundation

Available from: 2018-01-10 Created: 2018-01-10 Last updated: 2018-02-12

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Koppel, LinaAndersson, DavidMorrison, IndiaVästfjäll, DanielTinghög, Gustav
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