We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Flashback Friday: How touching gets people to do your bidding.

Seriously, Science?
By Seriously Science
Oct 10, 2014 3:00 PMNov 19, 2019 10:00 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Photo: Flickr/rabiem22When it comes to getting people to help, it may seem like some people just have the magic touch and others don't. But if you are one of those poor souls who end up with the brunt of any "shared" task, take heart! According to this study, there is a really simple thing you can do to get people to help you: touch them! That's right -- people were much more likely to help a stranger with a unpleasant task (taking care of a large excited dog) when they were touched while being asked to help. So go out and touch someone... and get the help you deserve!An evaluation of touch on a large request: a field setting. “The effect of touch on compliance to a request has traditionally been tested with small solicitation (answer to a small questionnaire, give a dime to a confederate ….). In our experiment a larger request was evaluated. Passersby, 53 men and 67 women, were asked by two confederates to look after a large and very excited dog for 10 minutes because each wanted to go into a pharmacy where animals were prohibited. In half of the cases, subjects were touched during the request. Analysis showed that, when touched, 55% of the subjects agreed with the request whereas 35% only in the no-touch control condition agreed. This finding indicates that touch was positively associated with the subjects’ compliance (p > .03).” Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Can a machine tickle? Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Double feature: foot in the door and door in the face techniques. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: I’m pretty sure this is how the Civil War started…

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.