Skip to main content
Log in

The use of interpersonal touch in securing compliance

  • Published:
Journal of Nonverbal Behavior Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Direct gaze and a personal approach distance have been shown to increase compliance in a face to face situation. In the present study touch was varied along with gender and difficulty of request to assess the effects upon rate of compliance. The results indicated that touch was important in securing compliance, moreso if the request was more difficult, and most important in securing same gender compliance.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Aguilera, D. C. Relationships between physical contact and verbal interaction in nurses and and patients.Journal of Psychiatric Nursing 1967,5 5–21.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baron, R. A. Behavioral effects of interpersonal attraction: Compliance with requests from liked and disliked others.Psychonomic Science 1971,25 325–326.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bickman, L. Sex and helping behavior.Journal of Social Psychology 1974,93 43–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellsworth, P. C., & Langer, E. J. Staring and approach: An interpretation of the stare as a nonspecific activator.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1976,33 117–122.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emswiller, T., Deaux, K., & Willits, J. E. Similarity, sex, and requests for small favors.Journal of Applied Social Psychology 1971,1 284–291.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ernest, R. C., & Cooper, R. E. “Hey mister, do you have any change?”: Two real world studies of proxemic effects on compliance with a mundane request.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1974,1 158–159.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, J. D., Rytting, M., & Heslin, R. Hands touching hands: Affective and evaluative effects of an interpersonal touch.Sociometry 1976,39 416–421.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geis, F., & Viskne, V. Touching: Physical contact and the level of arousal.Proceedings of the annual convention of the American Psychological Association 1972,7 179–180.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henley, N. M. Status and sex: Some touching observations.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 1973,2 91–93.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jourard, S. M. An exploratory study of body accessibility.British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1966,5 221–231.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jourard, S. M., & Rubin, J. Physical contact and self-disclosure.Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1968,7 38–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kleinke, C. R. Compliance to requests made by gazing and touching experimenters in field settings.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1977,13 218–223.

    Google Scholar 

  • Konecni, V. J., Libuser, L., Morton, H., & Ebbesin, E. B. Effects of violation of personal space on escape and helping responses.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1975,11 288–299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pattison, J. E. Effects of touch on self-exploration and the therapeutic relationship.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1973,40 170–175.

    Google Scholar 

  • Raiche, B. M. The effects of touch on counselor portrayal of empathy and regard, and the promotion of self-disclosure, as measured by video-tape simulation.Dissertation Abstracts International 1977,38 (4-A), 1902–1903.

    Google Scholar 

  • Regan, J. W., & Brehm, J. W. Compliance in buying as a function of inducements that threaten freedom. In L. Bickman and T. Henchy (Eds.)Beyond the laboratory: Field research in Social Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972, 269–274.

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverthorne, C., Noreen, C., Hunt, T., & Rota, L. The effects of tactile stimulation on visual experience.Journal of Social Psychology 1972,88 153–154.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walsh, E. J. Petition signing in town and on campus.Journal of Social Psychology 1977,102 323–324.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, S. J., & Willis, F. N. Interpersonal touch among preschool children at play.The Psychological Record 1978,28 501–508.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Willis, F.N., Hamm, H.K. The use of interpersonal touch in securing compliance. J Nonverbal Behav 5, 49–55 (1980).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: