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Are you getting enough human contact in Edmonton?


January 19, 2015   0

Being touched is a powerful experience. It’s therapeutic.... some would even say it’s necessary to being human. But it’s something our society doesn’t really embrace. And the natural opportunities we do have for physical contact may be endangered by the way we live more and more today -- digitally, and disconnected.

Previous research has suggested that touch deprivation leads to aggression and violent behavior in animals, so it was no surprise when Dr. Tiffany Field shared her concerns that living in our largely touch-deprived Western society can have negative consequences. It was these concerns that led researchers at the Touch Research Institute to examine how touch is treated differently in two cities with very different cultures -- Miami and Paris.


In one study, published in Early Child Development and Care in 1999, Dr. Field and her colleagues measured how much affectionate touch preschoolers received from their parents on playgrounds and also the children’s level of aggressive behavior. In Paris, they found there was more touch toward peers and parents by children and less aggression. In a separate study, researchers also observed that French adolescents -- raised with more affectionate touch -- were more affectionate and less physically and verbally aggressive with one another than American adolescents. This association does not imply or prove causation, but does make a case for closer examination with further research. 

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