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Perceptions of cross-sex and same-sex nonreciprocal touch: It is better to give than to receive

Abstract

Observers' perceptions of actors engaged in cross-sex and same-sex nonreciprocal touch vs. no-touch interactions were assessed. Touchers were rated significantly higher than recipients on dimensions of status/dominance, instrumentality/assertiveness, and warmth/expressiveness. Furthermore, touchers were rated higher, and recipients were rated lower, on these dimensions than no-touch controls. Female observers rated actors involved in touch interactions as more attractive than those involved in no-touch interactions, whereas male observers did the reverse. Results suggest that nonreciprocal touch conveys several messages, and appears to benefit the toucher more than the recipient. Implications of these results for evaluations of the nonverbal communication patterns of women and men were discussed.

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Major, B., Heslin, R. Perceptions of cross-sex and same-sex nonreciprocal touch: It is better to give than to receive. J Nonverbal Behav 6, 148–162 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987064

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987064

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication Pattern
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Female Observer
  • Male Observer