when hugged by the same researcher in a controlled laboratory setting, london undergraduate students prefer five- or ten-second hugs to one-second hugs. out on campus, male huggers tend to criss-cross their arms.  

original article: Dueren et al., 2021 (Acta Psychologica), reported in: The Daily Mail by Johnathan Chadwick on 16th November 2021

this story was in episode 21 #hug #affective #posture #social #touch

the error bar says

psychologists in London, says the Daily Mail, hugged dozens of undergraduate students in six different ways & asked them how pleasant each one was. they preferred hugs lasting five or ten seconds than the shortest one-second hugs. whether the pair's arms were crossed-over or parallel didn't matter, nor did their different heights - much.

stepping out of the laboratory & into the real world, they asked pairs of young people on campus to share a hug & recorded the results. if at least one of the pair identified as female, about half of the hugs were of the parallel neck-to-waist kind; but pairs of two males hugged with criss-crossed arms in 23 of 28 couplings.

the researchers say this information will help us study the powers of affective touch & the development of social robots.

should we hug for five seconds?

yes. this is a feel-good story.

this clear & simple study was well-reported by both the Daily Mail & the researchers. the data are clear, the analyses limited & the conclusions justified. while the data are explored a little in the report, all the conclusions focus on the two main results - that one second hugs are not liked as much as others & that male pairs prefer to hug criss-cross style. bonus: all the summary data are in the paper or its supplementaries & i'm sure they'll release the raw data in exchange for a nice hug.

my only quibble would be to say that we don't know that five-to-ten seconds is the optimal time to hug; all we really know is that, of the three times tested - one, five & ten seconds - the one-second hugs were rated much less positively than the others.


sure, why not!


The Daily Mail: fact - scientific story reported well