Touchy feely people psychology

Added: Ani Salcedo - Date: 03.10.2021 18:15 - Views: 43858 - Clicks: 8653

Former Vice President Joe Biden has always been a physically affectionate man, but recently that touching has become controversial. We turn to experts in social and personality psychology to help us understand what is going on.

Touchy feely people psychology

Supportive touch is a vitally important component of human social life. James Coan of the University of Virginia argues that we need it, much as we need material sustenance. It can mean that someone likes us and might be an ally or otherwise provide help if anything bad happens. And so we relax a little bit. So when Joe Biden touches someone, he may just want to give them that feeling that someone is concerned, they are understood, and they are safe. The problem is that people differ dramatically in how comfortable they are with touch — any touch, from anyone, let alone relative strangers.

So even though Biden may mean his touching in the best way, it may backfire and have the opposite effects on some people. Empathizing with others may lead to more physical contact: The role of empathy. It is clear that Biden is a person who touches other people -- both men and women -- more than Touchy feely people psychology. Why is that? According to Dr. By all s, Joe Biden is a very empathic person, known for being extremely moved by others' stories. Research on empathy has shown that experiencing empathy for another person can lead people to ignore social norms about social contact.

It's possible that Biden's empathy, similarly, tends to make him overlook social norms about, say, personal space. In other words, Biden may touch people more because he feels empathy Touchy feely people psychology them.

Touchy feely people psychology

People are bad at knowing when they make others uncomfortable: The role of awareness. Whatever his reasons for touching others, Biden seemed surprised to learn that some people were upset by his touches. Vanessa Bohns of Cornell University, people are often oblivious of the extent to which they make other people uncomfortable.

It seems like something similar could be going on with Joe Biden. Most of us are unaware of how often we make others uncomfortable. People high in self-esteem assume other people want their affection: The role of self-esteem.

Touchy feely people psychology

Veronica Lamarche of the University of Essex points out that people with high self-esteem - a quality Joe Biden seems to have - tend to expect that others will be responsive to their wants and needs. They like themselves, so they assume other people like them too! Where unwanted touching is concerned, this means Touchy feely people psychology with high self-esteem are not only more likely to see interest where it doesn't exist, but they're also more likely to believe how they feel about the situation matches how the other person feels as well.

Powerful people who want to be loved are especially likely to sexually harass women: The role of fear of negative evaluation.

Touchy feely people psychology

Kimberly Rios from Ohio University, her research suggests that men who are in powerful positions but fear that others may think poorly of them are especially prone to sexually harass female subordinates. If Joe Biden feels insecure about any aspect of his power -- for example, he may be apprehensive about whether he really has a chance to win the Presidential election or feel insecure about being vice president as opposed to president -- that could partially explain his propensity to touch women in ways that felt inappropriate to them. Powerful men who worry about others liking them more likely to behave in this way.

People in power might not notice that the norms have changed: The role of power and social norms. Biden may also not have noticed that his behavior is not appropriate because he may not have noticed how other people act with respect to touching. Most of us learn how to behave by watching the people around us.

For example, we might notice that everyone gets quiet in a theatre and take that as Touchy feely people psychology cue that it is time to stop talking. Because Joe Biden has been high in power for a long time, he may not notice or think about how others are behaving differently in this MeToo era. Shifting power structures in our society make men more likely to want to assert their power: The role of changes in power on men.

Ironically, for some men, living in a time in which sexism is decreasing may actually lead them to be more likely to behave in ways that are seen as inappropriate. Sarah Gaither of Duke University points Touchy feely people psychology that when people are in a higher status position, like being a man in a male-dominated society, they often want to maintain the status quo. Men who Touchy feely people psychology that their masculinity or power is being threatened by shifting power structures may respond to that threat by displaying dominance for example, by touching others to assert their status.

Shifting power structures in society make women more likely to report things that make them uncomfortable: The role of changes in power on women. The recent changes in discussions and awareness surrounding the MeToo movement have empowered some women to speak up against men who are in positions of power. The social norms that have affected this shift are not so much about touching but about voicing discomfort. Touching women without their consent and sniffing their hair may feel like microaggressions to some women.

A microaggression is a brief and common indignity that happens to people in lower power groups. Sean Laurent of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign points out that microaggressions can have harmful effects even when the perpetrator did not intend to cause harm.

So how can we explain why Joe Biden touches people and why it is of such interest to us? It turns out that there are many reasons. We touch others because it can show them that they are cared Touchy feely people psychology, loved, and understood. Similarly, the more we empathize with others the more likely we are to touch them. Research suggests that we are bad at knowing when we are making others uncomfortable.

Thus, we may touch people without realizing that they are bothered by it. This is particularly likely to happen with high self-esteem people who assume that other people like them and enjoy their affection. On a less charitable note, research suggests that high power people who are unsure about themselves are more likely to sexually harass others. The fact that norms are changing may make some people want to assert their power, and they may assert their dominance by touching women even more.

Conversely, the shifts in power may make women more likely to speak out about touching that bothers them.

Touchy feely people psychology

Finally, because unwanted touching is a microaggression, it may make women angry to see a public figure touching other women because they know it bothers some women and they feel like he should be aware of this. Everything that people think, feel, and do is affected by some combination of their personal characteristics and features of the social context they are in at the time.

Touchy feely people psychology

Apr 24, Our Touchy feely people psychology suggested that at least seven different psychological processes may be at play: 1. Touch als caring and support: The role of the need to belong Supportive touch is a vitally important component of human social life.

Empathizing with others may lead to more physical contact: The role of empathy It is clear that Biden is a person who touches other people -- both men and women -- more than most. People are bad at knowing when they make others uncomfortable: The role of awareness Whatever his reasons for touching Touchy feely people psychology, Biden seemed surprised to learn that some people were upset by his touches. People in power might not notice that the norms have changed: The role of power and social norms Biden may also not have noticed that his behavior is not appropriate because he may not have noticed how other people act with respect to touching.

Shifting power structures in our society make men more likely to want to assert their power: The role of changes in power on men Ironically, for some men, living in a time in which sexism is decreasing may actually lead them to be more likely to behave in ways that are seen as inappropriate. Shifting power structures in society make women more likely to report things that make them uncomfortable: The role of changes in power on women Dr. Putting it all together So how can we explain why Joe Biden touches people and why it is of such interest to us?

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Touchy feely people psychology

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Touchy feely people psychology

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