Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 179–192 | Cite as

Touch, Compliance, and Homophobia

  • Dariusz DolinskiEmail author
Original Paper


As has already been indicated in numerous studies, touching or holding someone by the arm while asking for something increases our chances of having our request fulfilled. However, the three experiments presented in this article which were conducted in Poland, indicate that in the conditions when a man requests something from another man, touch actually negatively affects the chances for request fulfillment. This effect seems to be linked to the strong male homophobia characteristic of the society within which the experiments were carried out.


Compliance Social influence Nonverbal behavior Touch Homophobia 



The preparation of this article was made possible by a research grant from the Polish Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education (grant number 1343/H03/2006/31).

My warm thanks are extended to Judith A. Hall, the Associate Editor of the journal, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on the earlier version of this paper.


  1. Abramowicz, M. (Ed.). (2007). Sytuacja społeczna osób biseksualnych i homoseksualnych wPolsce (Social situation of bisexual and homosexual persons in Poland). Warszawa: Lambda.Google Scholar
  2. Anderesen, P. A., & Leibowitz, K. (1978). The development and nature of the construct of touch avoidance. Experimental Psychology and Nonverbal Behavior, 3, 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersen, J. F., Andersen, P. A., & Lustig, M. W. (1987a). Opposite sex touch avoidance: A national replication and extension. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 11, 89–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersen, P. A., & Guerrero, L. K. (1989). Avoiding communication: Verbal and nonverbal dimensions of defensiveness. In Paper Presented at the Annual Convention of the Western Speech Communication Association, Spokane, WA. Google Scholar
  5. Andersen, P. A., Lustig, M. W., & Andersen, J. F. (1987b). Changes in latitude, changes in attitude: The relationship between climate and interpersonal communication predispositions. In Paper Presented at the Annual Convention of the Western Speech Communication Association, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  6. Bohm, J. K., & Hendricks, B. (1997). Effects of interpersonal touch, degree of justification, and sex of participant on compliance with a request. Journal of Social Psychology, 137, 460–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brockner, J., Pressman, B., Cabitt, J., & Moran, P. (1982). Nonverbal intimacy, sex, and compliance: A field study. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 64, 253–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, B. L. (1975). Reciprocal concession procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 206–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crawford, C. B. (1994a). Effects of sex and sex roles on same-sex touch. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 391–394.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Crawford, C. B. (1994b). Effects of sex and sex roles on avoidance of same- and opposite-sex touch. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 107–112.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, B. P., & Knowles, E. S. (1999). A disrupt-then-reframe technique of social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 192–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Derlega, V. J., Lewis, R. J., Harrison, S., Winstead, B. A., & Costanza, R. (1989). Gender differences in the initiation and attribution of tactile intimacy. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 13, 83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dolinski, D., & Nawrat, R. (1998). Fear-then-relief procedure for producing compliance. Beware when the danger is over. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 34, 27–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erceau, D., & Guéguen, N. (2007). Tactile contact and evaluation of the toucher. Journal of Social Psychology, 147, 441–444.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. European Parliament Resolution of 26 April 2007 on homophobia in Europe (2007). Retrieved July 21, 2009 from
  16. Floyd, K. (2000). Affectionate same-sex touch: The influence of homophobia on observers’ perceptions. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 774–788.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot in the door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 195–202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Fundamental Right Agency (2009). Homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU member states. Part IIthe social situation. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report. Retrieved July 21, 2009 from
  19. Goldman, M., Kiyohara, O., & Pfannensteil, D. A. (2001). Interpersonal touch, social labeling, and the foot-in-the-door effect. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 143–147.Google Scholar
  20. Guéguen, N. (2002a). Status, apparel and touch: Their joint effects on compliance to a request. American Journal of Psychology, 4, 279–286.Google Scholar
  21. Guéguen, N. (2002b). Touch, awareness of touch, and compliance with a request. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 95, 355–360.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Guéguen, N., & Jacob, C. (2006). The effect of tactile stimulation on the purchasing behaviour of consumers: An experimental study in natural setting. International Journal of Management, 23, 24–33.Google Scholar
  23. Guéguen, N., Jacob, C., & Gaelle, B. (2007). The effect of touch on compliance with a restarant’s employee suggestion. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 26, 1019–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Henley, N., & LaFrance, M. (1984). Gender and culture: Difference and dominance in nonverbal behavior. In A. Wolfgang (Ed.), Nonverbal behavior: Perspectives, applications, intercultural insights (pp. 351–357). Ashland: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Herek, G. M. (1998). Attitudes toward lesbian and gay men scale. In C. M. Davis (Ed.), Handbook of sexuality-related measures (pp. 392–394). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Heslin, R., Nguyen, T. D., & Nguyen, M. L. (1983). Meaning of touch: The case of touch from a stranger or same sex person. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 7, 147–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hornik, J. (1992). Tactile stimulation and consumer response. Journal of Consumer Research, 19, 449–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hornik, J. (2001). The effect of touch and gaze upon compliance and interest of interviewees. Journal of Social Psychology, 127, 681–683.Google Scholar
  29. Hornik, J., & Ellis, S. (1988). Strategies to secure compliance for a mall interview. Public Opinion Quarterly, 52, 539–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaufman, D., & Mahoney, J. M. (1999). The effect of waitress touch on alcohol consumption in dyads. Journal of Social Psychology, 139, 261–267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Kleinke, C. L. (1977). Compliance to request made by gazing and touching experiments in a field settings. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 218–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kleinke, C. L. (1980). Interaction between gaze and legitimacy of request on compliance in a field setting. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 5, 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. LaMar, L., & Kite, M. (1998). Sex differences in attitudes toward gay men and lesbians: A multidimensional perspective. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 189–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lelleri, R. (2007). Schoolmates. Transnational research: Final report. Unpublished manuscript. Bologna (Italy).Google Scholar
  35. Lieblich, A., & Friedman, G. (1985). Attitudes toward male and female homosexuality and sex-role stereotypes in Israeli and American students. Sex Roles, 12, 561–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Major, B., Schmidlin, A. M., & Williams, L. (1990). Gender patterns in social touch: The impact of setting and age. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 634–643.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Martin, M. M., & Anderson, C. M. (1993). Psychological and biological differences in touch avoidance. Communication Research Reports, 10, 141–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nannberg, J. C., & Hansen, C. (1994). Post-compliance touch: An incentive for task performance. Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 301–307.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Patterson, M. L., Powell, J. L., & Lenihan, M. G. (1986). Touch, compliance, and interpersonal affect. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 10, 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Powell, J., Meil, W., Patterson, M. L., & Chouirand, E. F. (1994). Effects of timing of touch on compliance to a request. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 9, 153–162.Google Scholar
  41. Remland, M. S., & Jones, T. S. (1994). The influence of vocal intensity and touch on compliance gaining. Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 89–97.Google Scholar
  42. Roese, N. J., Olson, J. M., Borenstein, M. N., Martin, A., & Shores, A. (1992). Same-sex touching behavior: The moderating role of homophobic attitudes. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 16, 249–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Santos, M. D., Leve, C., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1994). Hey buddy, can you spare seventeen cents? Mindful persuasion and the pique technique. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 755–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith, D. E., Gier, J. A., & Willis, F. N. (1982). Interpersonal touch and compliance with a marketing request. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 3, 35–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stier, D. H., & Hall, J. A. (1984). Gender differences in touch: An empirical and theoretical review. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 440–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wallace, J., & Sadalla, E. (1966). Behavioral consequences of transgression: I. The effects of social recognition. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, 1, 187–194.Google Scholar
  47. Willis, F. N., & Hamm, H. K. (1980). The use of interpersonal touch in securing compliance. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 5, 49–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Willis, F. N., & Rawdon, V. A. (1994). Gender and national differences in attitudes toward same-gender touch. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 1027–1034.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wroclaw FacultyWarsaw School of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWroclawPoland

Personalised recommendations