Interpersonal touch behavior differs across cultures, yet no study to date has systematically tested for cultural variation in affective touch, nor examined the factors that might account for this variability. Here, over 14,000 individuals from 45 countries were asked whether they embraced, stroked, kissed, or hugged their partner, friends, and youngest child during the week preceding the study. We then examined a range of hypothesized individual-level factors (sex, age, parasitic history, conservatism, religiosity, and preferred interpersonal distance) and cultural-level factors (regional temperature, parasite stress, regional conservatism, collectivism, and religiosity) in predicting these affective-touching behaviors. Our results indicate that affective touch was most prevalent in relationships with partners and children, and its diversity was relatively higher in warmer, less conservative, and religious countries, and among younger, female, and liberal people. This research allows for a broad and integrated view of the bases of cross-cultural variability in affective touch.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research was funded from statutory funds for AS, PS and TF. During the project, AO was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education scholarship for years 2018–2020 (#626/STYP/12/2017). Marina Butovskaya and Daria Dronova participated in this study in line with the research plan of the Institute of Ehnology and Anthropology, Moscow.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology