CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Effects of Instructional Set and Personality Variables on the Use of Touching


The effects of demand characteristics and relevant personality variables on the use of touching were explored. Half of the 32 male and 32 female subjects received instructions discussing touching as one method of expressing emotions. All subjects pretended that an assistant was a friend with whom they roleplayed six emotional feelings. Subjects completed the Mosher Sex-guilt Scale and the Body accessibility Questionnaire. Those subjects given additional instructions touched more but felt less comfortable with the assistant. Sex of the subject, sex of the assistant, amount of sex guilt, and degree of body accessibility did not have significant effects on touching. However, differential couching was produced by different emotional cues. The results contradict previous suggestions that touching is a function of a stable personality characteristic. Also, unlike clinical literature which suggests that touching produces intimacy and comfort, these findings suggested that instructional set can increase touching but decrease comfort.

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Dr. Diane Follingstad had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the publication time.

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