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Touching is a primitive grooming gesture.

Touching is a primitive grooming gesture.

A study by Chris Keinke in 1980 revealed that touch can influence compliance with a request. In the study, an experimenter left a dime in a phone booth in a Boston airport. As the subjects emerged from the airport the experimenter asked for the return of their dime. It was found that compliance was more frequent when the request was accompanied by a light touch on the arm. A similar study in 1982 by Joel Brockner and colleagues showed comparable findings but specify that only sixty three percent of the non-touched returned the dime, whereas ninety six percent of those that were touched returned the dime.

Further research shows that justification that accompanying a light touch also helps in compliance. Therefore, we can add to the effectiveness of touching by briefly outlining our reasoning. It might go something like “I’ve left a dime here, and I really need it to make an important phone call.” followed by a light touch of the arm or forearm “Have you seen it”. This approach would have the most significant results. Other studies show similar results when people are asked to sign a petition or in a super market when asked to sample a new product. In the study, half of the shoppers were briefly touched, while the other half was not. The results show that, not only were people more likely to test the food, but they were also more likely to buy the product as well. Touching customers in a store also resulted in increased shopping time and more positive evaluation of the store. Patrons of taverns in the U.S. who were touched spent more time drinking and also consumed more alcohol then patrons that were not touched by the staff. In reference to tipping behaviour, touch was also a factor. Patrons that were touched by the waiter or waitress were far more likely to tip and to also tip higher. It seems that slight touching of a stranger on the upper arm has a very powerful affect on cooperation. The effects of touch has been widely studied and the influence it has on behaviour and requests are conclusive, touching really can help you get what you want from others.