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The Psychology of Touch

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return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 04 March 2008 at 2:06pm | IP Logged
The social reactions to physical proximity are very interesting. Different kinds of physical interactions incite different social opinions across the world.

In the west girls and boys are free to share a lot more physical proximity. They hug each other in public, may share a kiss on the cheek, spend time together as friends. There are no assumptions of romantic/sexual relationships as people tend to be more open when they are involved in one.

In many Eastern cultures physical proximity between opposite sexes is frowned upon. Till recently and still a lot in rural parts hugging, touching, spending time together can be considered taboo. People question a girl's character if she is seen alone with a guy, sharing a hug with a guy friend etc. I have had people complain that just because they had lunch with a friend or watched a movie together people question if there is a relationship.

Same sex friendships seem to have quite the opposite reaction specially when it comes to guys. Eastern cultures seem to be a lot more touchy. Men tend to share a lot of platonic physical proximity. You can watch it in reality shows, an eliminated guy will cry on the shoulders of another, other guys will console, place a kiss on the forehead in consolation. We view it merely as a reflection of friendship and looking out for each other, in the west such interactions between men tends to be viewed as gay.

In India infants and children are held and cuddled by friends, family, neighbors whereas in the west such affection is restricted to parents and very close family members.

French traditionally greet people with 'bizu', in parts of the middle east men lock lips, yet in other parts of the world such interactions are frowned upon or taboo.

What determines this human psychology of touch? How have different cultures taken on different interpretations of the exact same physical interaction? Does this difference of perception raise barriers and misunderstandings in communication? How often do we misunderstand or misread physical interactions based on our own psychological perceptions?

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IdeaQueen

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Posted: 07 March 2008 at 2:35am | IP Logged
Hmm!
I'm back after somany days...into normal posting modeTongue!!
Yes..nothing happens with a touch..there is no danger to the virgintiy of a girl with a touch,hug or kiss or whatever....
RTH! You were saying still in rural India...these Hug,kiss and all stuff are considered as a taboo..it is the same in urban India also...
First question: Why is it necessary to touch others unnecessarily?Smile
Second question: Can't we communicate our emotions, feelings without touching the other person?Smile
Third Question: Does touch give some extra dose of bondage?Smile
Last but not least....I don't hug almost all the people ( in the senseLOL my male friends,male colleaguesLOL  or any relatives)... even then I never felt any problem in sharing my emotions with themSmile
HugsHug,
Myth

Ritika2025

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Ritika2025

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Posted: 07 March 2008 at 10:23am | IP Logged
What determines this human psychology of touch?
The tendency to respond to touch is inborn in humans..
we all must have held hands with our friends while walking together at the age of two.

According to me, a touch is one of the most effective forms of communication, a mother raking fingers through ur hair while u lie carelessly on her lap is effective enough to drive away all worries... Just a friend sitting with u holding hands in times of crisis can lend more support than words can ever express...

From my personal experience, i feel that sometimes a simple touch is gud enough to make u realise what the person infront of u feels

However with age, Culture and bringing up , we tend to get conscious of it... Its just like a child says everything he feels..Bt as we grow up we are taught to keep our mouth shut

How have different cultures taken on different interpretations of the exact same physical interaction?

You have answered that in your post itselfSmile

Does this difference of perception raise barriers and misunderstandings in communication?

Sometimes , yes...When we tend to expect everyone to behave according to our standards

How often do we misunderstand or misread physical interactions based on our own psychological perceptions?

Depends on An individual's perception

return_to_hades

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 07 March 2008 at 11:17am | IP Logged
Originally posted by mythili_Kiran


First question: Why is it necessary to touch others unnecessarily?Smile


The thing is define unnecessarily -what maybe true for you may not be true for someone else.

Touch is the most basic and primary mode of communication. Before anything else a human learns to recognize and identify scent and touch. Non verbal cues like gestures and touches are  integral to communication when other communications are broken down.

Touch is also essential for communication emotions and can be more empathetic.

When a child comes running and hugs their mother after school that one gesture speaks - 'Mommy I missed you so much today, I am so happy to be home with you, I love you so much'.

Holding someone and comforting them after a tragedy speaks volumes than mere words. Hitting someone emphasizes the rage and anger. Different types of kisses display different kinds of compassion, caring, concern and love.

Originally posted by mythili_Kiran

Second question: Can't we communicate our emotions, feelings without touching the other person?Smile


We can but, sometimes a touch is more useful in communicating emotions.

A lot of people find themselves at a loss of words during moments of excited emotions and resort to touch to communicate their feelings.

Personally, I am quite an excitable person with little things making me happy and upset in a childlike manner. I will often hug friends and family as an expression of my emotions. I feel more communicative and able to communicate better when I am able to establish a communication of touch.

Which is why the psychology of touch is interesting on how these gestures of touch are interpreted.

Originally posted by mythili_Kiran

Third Question: Does touch give some extra dose of bondage?Smile


In my opinion yes. In fact for me how close my friends are completely depends on acceptable touch and how much I can invade personal space.

IdeaQueen

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IdeaQueen

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Posted: 09 May 2008 at 11:32am | IP Logged

Originally posted by return_to_hades

Originally posted by mythili_Kiran


First question: Why is it necessary to touch others unnecessarily?Smile


The thing is define unnecessarily -what maybe true for you may not be true for someone else.

Touch is the most basic and primary mode of communication. Before anything else a human learns to recognize and identify scent and touch. Non verbal cues like gestures and touches are  integral to communication when other communications are broken down.

Touch is also essential for communication emotions and can be more empathetic.

When a child comes running and hugs their mother after school that one gesture speaks - 'Mommy I missed you so much today, I am so happy to be home with you, I love you so much'.

Holding someone and comforting them after a tragedy speaks volumes than mere words. Hitting someone emphasizes the rage and anger. Different types of kisses display different kinds of compassion, caring, concern and love.

Yes agree with what you saidSmile ,however still I say is it necessary to go and touch people ..give a hug...and then convey our feelings in that way....

take a simple example...if we take the SRK's any TV shows..he unnecessarily..hugs...touches every damn person...ofcorz people die to hug him..that's a different issue...but still..is it necessary for a quiz master to hug the participant....he can decently score and appreciate the person...why the hell does he need to do all the extra things....

Reg the bonding between Mom and child..it is  definetely a serene and beautiful relation...in which touch is also a partSmile....but all the relations are not pure as the relation between Mom and child


Originally posted by mythili_Kiran

Second question: Can't we communicate our emotions, feelings without touching the other person?Smile


We can but, sometimes a touch is more useful in communicating emotions.

A lot of people find themselves at a loss of words during moments of excited emotions and resort to touch to communicate their feelings.

Personally, I am quite an excitable person with little things making me happy and upset in a childlike manner. I will often hug friends and family as an expression of my emotions. I feel more communicative and able to communicate better when I am able to establish a communication of touch.

Which is why the psychology of touch is interesting on how these gestures of touch are interpreted.

Originally posted by mythili_Kiran

Third Question: Does touch give some extra dose of bondage?Smile


In my opinion yes. In fact for me how close my friends are completely depends on acceptable touch and how much I can invade personal space.

Smile

lighthouse

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lighthouse

Joined: 18 January 2006

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Posted: 09 May 2008 at 12:36pm | IP Logged

 Touching is fine when a kid, but not necesarily when adult due to our heightened sexual awareness and germophobia. Tongue  Touch and smell stimulates our senses in a major way and one can never be sure how the stimulation will go with you or the other person (being a casual aquiantence etc). Smile

 It is ok for me to hug someone I am meeting for the first time or after a long long time to bond further, but not into hugging friends and relatives every time I see them. Tongue



Edited by lighthouse - 09 May 2008 at 12:42pm

Gauri_3

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Posted: 09 May 2008 at 1:03pm | IP Logged
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kabhi_21

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Posted: 09 May 2008 at 9:39pm | IP Logged
I can understand about the psychology of male bondings in the west LOL .... so i never say that i was with this friend last night amongst westerners LOL

Jk.... we joke a lot about all things... like we have common male friend and if some one asks us how we met, we just say we went on blind date and laugh after a while LOL

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