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Emotion. 2009 Aug;9(4):566-73. doi: 10.1037/a0016108.

The communication of emotion via touch.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN 46135, USA. mhertenstein@depauw.edu

Abstract

The study of emotional communication has focused predominantly on the facial and vocal channels but has ignored the tactile channel. Participants in the current study were allowed to touch an unacquainted partner on the whole body to communicate distinct emotions. Of interest was how accurately the person being touched decoded the intended emotions without seeing the tactile stimulation. The data indicated that anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy were decoded at greater than chance levels, as well as happiness and sadness, 2 emotions that have not been shown to be communicated by touch to date. Moreover, fine-grained coding documented specific touch behaviors associated with different emotions. The findings are discussed in terms of their contribution to the study of emotion-related communication.

PMID:
19653781
DOI:
10.1037/a0016108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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