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w00t! Haptic Influences: The Importance of Sensation

June 28, 2010

Studies Show That Touch Plays an Important Role in How We Make Decisions

FROM MITNEWS.COM (Peter Dizikes): “Your success in your next job interview may not have much to do with the contents of your resume. Instead, it may depend on what’s under your resume. Namely: Have the people interviewing you put your CV on a heavy clipboard, or a light one?

That is one finding made by Joshua Ackerman, an assistant professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, whose research indicates that haptic impressions — our sense of touch — may strongly influence our thoughts.’Our understanding of the world and our social environment is not just a product of our minds,’ says Ackerman. ‘It’s a product of our bodies as well.’

In a new paper, ‘Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions,’ published this week in the journal Science, Ackerman and his co-authors, Christopher Nocera of Harvard and John Bargh of Yale, describe the results of six studies showing a variety of ways that tactile sensations can affect decision-making. From workplace judgments to financial decisions, they write, ‘haptically acquired information exerts a rather broad influence over cognition, in ways of which we are probably often unaware.'”

Haptic: “relating to or based on the sense of touch.” : ) Currently, this research is all about decision making but the implications for designing learning environments are obvious and, I’d venture, potentially profound. That’s why I’m giving it w00t! status and a place on my list of things to learn more about. You can read the full article here — it’s good and quick reading on some very interesting findings.

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