Virtual Reality

, Volume 9, Issue 2–3, pp 149–159 | Cite as

Mediated social touch: a review of current research and future directions

  • Antal Haans
  • Wijnand IJsselsteijn
Original Article


In this paper, we review research and applications in the area of mediated or remote social touch. Whereas current communication media rely predominately on vision and hearing, mediated social touch allows people to touch each other over a distance by means of haptic feedback technology. Overall, the reviewed applications have interesting potential, such as the communication of simple ideas (e.g., through Hapticons), establishing a feeling of connectedness between distant lovers, or the recovery from stress. However, the beneficial effects of mediated social touch are usually only assumed and have not yet been submitted to empirical scrutiny. Based on social psychological literature on touch, communication, and the effects of media, we assess the current research and design efforts and propose future directions for the field of mediated social touch.


Physical contact Social touch Interpersonal interaction Literature review Computer mediated communication Haptic feedback 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Technology Interaction GroupEindhoven University of Technology, IPO 1.26EindhovenThe Netherlands

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