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Haptic Technology: Analyzing Gender - Relationship


The appropriateness of a touch depends on the relationship between the person touching and the person touched. We can interpret a touch as appropriate or inappropriate depending on whether the toucher is a partner, stranger, family member, or professional colleague.

In a study of 886 women and 482 men from Finland, France, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom, researchers found that partners are allowed to touch all body areas (white indicates accessible body areas), while strangers have limited access (black ringed by blue indicates inaccessible areas)—see Figure below. Overall women, such as mothers, sisters, female friends, are allowed to touch wider body areas across their entire social network than men, who may be fathers, brothers, friends, or strangers. Women’s touch was also rated more pleasant by both men and women. Hands and shoulders are the most accessible body areas; head, neck, or buttocks are typically off limits except for those in close relationships.

relationships determine appropriate touching



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