A woman’s touch is all it takes for people to throw caution to the wind.
A new study finds that if a female experimenter patted a participant on the back, they’d risk more money than if she just talked to them, or if a man did the patting.
Jonathan Levav of Columbia University and Jennifer J. Argo of the University of Alberta found that participants who were touched felt more secure and took bigger risks than those who weren’t — but only if they were touched by a woman. The effect was stronger for a touch on the back than for a handshake, but went away entirely for participants who were touched by a man.
The researchers think this comes from the way that mothers use touch to make their babies feel secure.
This helps the youngster’s sense of adventure; they’re more willing to take the risks that come with exploring unfamiliar contexts and strange situations.
The results suggest that a woman's touch works the same on adults as it does on infants: making them feel more secure and more willing to take risks.
Jonathan Levav, Jennifer J. Argo. Physical Contact and Financial Risk Taking. Psychological Science; Published online before print April 22, 2010Photo Source