Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Fascinating and clever study of how personal contact norms vary by relationship

Posted 10 Nov 2015 / 0
2015-11-10aImage from PNAS

Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesTopography of social touching depends on emotional bonds between humans” (Suvilehto et al. 2015)

This is a really clever study in that it aggregates a lot of data that is collected rather efficiently from a lot of participants. This makes the results robust for this population (“cross-cultural”, but still all European), but we have to keep in perspective what this study demonstrates: this is about what people perceive is acceptable, not what they actually do… which would be a lot harder to observe. Still, there’s great value in understanding what people consider acceptable personal contact and how this norm varies with relationship.

I wonder if these results would be consistent in a truly cross-cultural study, such as one conducted with populations from all continents and multiple scales of social complexity.

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Human Nature, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Social Networks, Social Norms

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