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Sense of Touch Effects Thoughts and Behavior

Posted Jun 29 2010 2:11am
The journal Science published research on how a human's sense of touch influences thoughts and behavior. Subjects participated in various experiments to see how an objects weight, texture and hardness can influence decision making.

In one experiment, the researchers had the subjects sit in hard or soft chairs and negotiate prices of a car. The subjects who sat in the harder chairs drove a harder bargain than the ones that sat in the softer chairs.

In another experiment, subjects were given information (resumes or surveys) on heavy versus lighter clipboards. The heavier clipboards resulted in the subjects stating that the information was more serious and important.

A separate experiment comparing smooth textures to harder textures had subjects handle rough or smooth puzzle pieces followed by listening to a story. The subjects who had the rough puzzle pieces stated that the interaction in the story was "harsh and uncoordinated".

Although this research was done with adults it poses many questions to me for children with sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD, etc. Would love to see some direct research on this topic with the previously mentioned groups of children. How does a child's sense of touch directly influence certain social situations? For example, when playing with softer objects do children tend to be more flexible when sharing toys? Does performing heavy work activities (proprioceptive input) influence how serious a child interprets a situation? Interesting topic...

Reference: Touch: How a hard chair creates a hard heart. Retrieved from on 6/28/2010.
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