Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Touch Test

Image credit: Touch Test
Of the five senses -- sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch -- the last one is the most personal. It's all about who is touching what, whom, where, when, why and how.

Have our attitudes towards touch changed over time, especially in the light of the recent MeToo movement? Are everyone now more sensitive and circumspect in this matter?

A worldwide online survey based on an elaborate questionnaire is currently on to understand the way people across various categories -- like nationality, gender, sexuality, age, profession, disability etc -- view physical contact, be it accidental or intentional.

The study, called Touch Test Project, is a partnership between BBC Radio 4 and Wellcome Collection, which has commissioned the project from psychologists at Goldsmiths, University of London

This elaborate study seeks to understand how touch might be not only linked to our health and well-being but also our association with partners and medical practitioners, and even the way we think about our own bodies. It also covers how technology has affected our attitudes towards touch.

The project, which went live on January 21, will run for a few months; and the results will be announced at a live event at Wellcome Collection in the autumn. It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.

I completed the survey yesterday.

It might take up to an hour to complete it (depending on the speed with which you read the questions and answer them), but you need not do it all in one sitting. You can stop and resume within seven days, but on the same browser on the same computer. I did it over two days.

I guess if more people take part, more accurate the survey results will be. To take part in the survey, go to touchtest.org. May be you should check it out. It's totally anonymous, and no personal details are collected.

21 comments:

  1. It sounds really interesting Pradeep. Touch is a very grey area - we all need it and it's a great way to express love and concern, but it can also be over-used or inappropriately used. I find hugging is something that has become more "fashionable" and I'm not comfortable being hugged by a near stranger (although I love being hugged by my family). It's a strange world that we live in these days.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM 😊

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  2. Hi Leanne, I agree with you on that point of 'hugging'. Even I have felt so. And touch is also something that has different interpretations depending on the cultural traditions of that particular place.

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  3. Sounds like a worthy endeavor. Touch is important, but it has to be wanted touch. Too many people overstep when their touch is not wanted.

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    1. You are right, Liz. Discretion is very important.

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  4. That's an interesting idea. Personally, I can't stand being touched by anyone. I'm interested in seeing the results though.

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    1. Yes, Oneil. The results will be interesting. I am also looking forward to it.

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  5. Thanks Pradeep for sharing this idea with us and I will take the time to have a look at the Touch Test. I have to admit I'm a touching person and sometimes have to respect that others aren't that way inclined. The results will be interesting to read. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Sue - Touch is so personal that how one perceives it varies from person to person. Nothing wrong or right about it. I am not so much of a touching person. But, it depends on who the other person is. I am comfortable only if the other person is also a touchy person, or if the other person is very close to me, and wouldn't mind being touched.

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  6. Oh how interesting. I am a hugger these days but wasn't for ages. I will go and check out the test. Thank you. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Hi Denyse - I am not a hugging person. Very unlikely that I will take the initiative to hug. But if someone close to me hugs me, I won't mind.

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  7. I'll check out the survey Pradeep. Thanks for sharing. On the subject of hugging...I am a hugger with people I know, not usually on a first meeting, unless we somehow really connected...and more easily with other women than men. Our family are big huggers among each other though. At the end of an extended family gathering, the goodbyes can take almost as long as the gathering! :-) #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Christie - Traditionally, in India, hugging was not common, except among very close relatives or friends. But it's becoming more popular now.

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    2. Christie, my family is a big hugging family and I tend to be a hugger of other people, too. Something I learned to curb in the workplace. But also something I'm learning to curb with friends now that I have a friend who is definitely NOT a hugger.

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  8. As you said, touch-its appreciation depends upon when, where....and all such 'wh' questions. Any way it is a good idea to conduct such a test, Pradeep.

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  9. I am a hugger. I'm also very sensitive to how things, like clothing, feel. In a store, I will touch all the clothes before I look at them. I don't want to fall in love with the look of an outfit before I know if I could even stand to have it touching my skin. I'm also a hands on learner and interestingly, there are some foods I will not eat because of the texture. I'll need to check out that study.

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    1. Hi Jennifer - That point about the feel of clothing on our body is interesting. If I remember right, in the survey, there is a question related to that. Even I do touch a cloth before I decide to buy it.

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  10. Touch is both cultural and what we've grown up with and differs from person to person, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing about the touch test, I'm planning to undertake it.

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    1. Hi Corinne - O yes, how we perceive touch is quite a cultural and personal thing. Thanks for dropping by.

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