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6 Second Hand Shake and Neuroscience

Posted on by Brandon Klein

You drastically underestimate the power of touch. Actually, I’m wrong…

The research says we’re really big on touching — our phones, that is. People touch their phones 85 times a day.

But how many times a day do you touch someone else? Probably not nearly as often. That’s kinda messed up, don’t ya think?

You need to touch people more. It will improve your life. Sound like Hallmark-Card-bumper-sticker-hippie-nonsense? Wrong.

What happens when babies are deprived of touch? It can screw them up for life. As David Linden, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University writes, “Touch is not optional for human development.”

From Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind:

    But deprive a newborn of social touch, as occurred in grossly understaffed Romanian orphanages in the 1980s and 1990s, and a disaster unfolds: Growth is slowed, compulsive rocking and other self-soothing behaviors emerge, and, if not rectified, emergent disorders of mood, cognition, and self-control can persist through adulthood. Fortunately, even a relatively minor intervention— an hour per day of touch and limb manipulation from a caregiver— can reverse this terrible course if applied early in life. Touch is not optional for human development.

But you’re not a baby, right? Doesn’t matter. Linden says touch is still vital.

From Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind:

    The answer is that interpersonal touch is a crucial form of social glue. It can bind partners into lasting couples. It reinforces bonds between parents and their children and between siblings. It connects people in the community and in the workplace, fostering emotions of gratitude, sympathy, and trust.

Saying that touch helps with relationships might seem obvious but the research shows touch improves nearly every area of your life. For instance: want to know the secret to success they don’t teach in any MBA program?

Kissing.

Yeah. Smooches. Don’t worry; I’ll explain…