Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 91–93 | Cite as

Status and sex: Some touching observations

  • Nancy M. Henley
Human Memory, Learning, & Thinking Social Processes


An observational study of touching in public was made, with attention to status variables (sex, race, age, SES) and settings. Results support the hypothesis that touch privilege is a correlate of status. The dual nature of touch as a sign of both status and solidarity is compared with Brown’s formulation of the similar use of terms of address.


Nonverbal Communication Sexual Attraction Outdoor Setting Interracial Interaction Heterosexual Attraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Argyle, M., Salter, V., Nicholson, H., Williams, M., & Burgess, P. The communication of inferior and superior attitudes by verbal and non-verbal signals. British Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 1970, 9, 222–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown, R. Social psychology. Glencoe, Ill: Free Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, R., & Gilman, A. The pronouns of power and solidarity. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Style in language. Cambridge: Technology Press, 1960.Google Scholar
  4. Clay, V.S. The effect of culture on mother-child tactile communication. Family Coordinator, 1968, 17, 204–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Duncan, S. Nonverbal communication. Psychological Bulletin, 1969, 72, 118–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goffman, E. The nature of deference and demeanor. American Anthropologist, 1956, 58, 473–502. In E. Goffman (Ed.), Interaction ritual. New York: Anchor, 1967. Pp. 47–95.Google Scholar
  7. Goldberg, S., & Lewis, M. Play behavior in the year-old infant: Early sex differences. Child Development, 1969, 40, 21–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hacker, H.M. Women as a minority group. Social Forces, 1951, 30, 60–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hore, T. Social class differences in some aspects of the nonverbal communication between mother and preschool child. Australian Journal of Psychology, 1970, 22, 21–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jourard, S.M. An exploratory study of body-accessibility. British Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 1966, 5, 221–231. & Rubin, J. E. Self-disclosure and touching: A study of two modes of interpersonal encounter and their interrelation. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1968, 8, 39-48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lewis, M. Parents and children: Sex-role development. School Review, 1972, 80, 229–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewis, M., & Wilson, C. D. Infant development in lower class American families. Symposium on Cross-Cultural Studies of Mother-Infant Interaction: Description and Consequence. Society for Research in Child Development meetings, Minneapolis, April 1971.Google Scholar
  13. Montagu, A. Touching. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.Google Scholar
  14. Morris, D. Intimate behavior. New York: Random House, 1971.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy M. Henley
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations