Cross-cultural similarity in relationship-specific social touching

Juulia T. Suvilehto, Lauri Nummenmaa, Tokiko Harada, Robin IM Dunbar, Riitta Hari, Robin Turner, Norihiro Sadato, Ryo Kitada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
143 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many species use touching for reinforcing social structures, and particularly, non-human primates use social grooming for managing their social networks. However, it is still unclear how social touch contributes to the maintenance and reinforcement of human social networks. Human studies in Western cultures suggest that the body locations where touch is allowed are associated with the strength of the emotional bond between the person touched and the toucher. However, it is unknown to what extent this relationship is culturally universal and generalizes to non-Western cultures. Here, we compared relationship-specific, bodily touch allowance maps across one Western (N = 386, UK) and one East Asian (N = 255, Japan) country. In both cultures, the strength of the emotional bond was linearly associated with permissible touch area. However, Western participants experienced social touching as more pleasurable than Asian participants. These results indicate a similarity of emotional bonding via social touch between East Asian and Western cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20190467
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B: BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Volume286
Issue number1901
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • social touch
  • cultural differences
  • emotion
  • bonding
  • human
  • touch

Field of art

  • Performance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-cultural similarity in relationship-specific social touching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Equipment

    Science-IT

    Mikko Hakala (Manager)

    School of Science

    Facility/equipment: Facility

  • Cite this