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Health & Balance

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Sense of Touch Affects Our World View

Study Shows Link Between Sense of Touch and the Decisions People Make

Physical Experiences Influence Behavior continued...

And they are reflected in such common expressions as "having a rough day" or "taking a hard line" or "weighing in with an opinion."

He says physical experiences "not only shape the foundation of our thoughts and perceptions, but influence our behavior toward others, sometimes just because we are sitting in a hard instead of a soft chair."

Nocera says in a second news release that touch "remains perhaps the most underappreciated sense in behavioral research" and that their experiments suggest that "greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions in an unconscious fashion."

The researchers write that first impressions drawn from the tactile environment "may be especially important for negotiators, pollsters, job seekers and others interested in interpersonal communication. The use of 'tactile tactics' may represent a new frontier in social influence and communication."

In the series of experiments, researchers studied how objects' weight, texture and hardness could unconsciously influence judgments about unrelated events.

In another test of hardness, people were asked to handle either a soft blanket or a hard wooden block before being told an ambiguous story about a workplace interaction between an employee and a supervisor. Those bosses who touched the block judged the employee as more rigid and strict.

The experiments, involving about 300 people, involved mock price negotiations, puzzle playing with smooth or rough pieces, getting participants to sit in hard or soft chairs, and asking some to try to guess the secret of a magic act.

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