Affective touch is a particular type of gentle caress that is crucial for social bonding and the forming of early attachments, activated by the nervous system at 2.5cm/second. Experiencing this gentle touch from others is associated with improved health, stabilized heart rates, and shorter hospital stays for infants. However, during a time of social distancing, affective touch is greatly reduced. More than half of individuals report not getting the touch they need in their lives, which can manifest as “touch hunger.” A short by BBC Ideas talks about the consequences of not getting enough human touch and what our future could look like after the pandemic.
Feature Image: Rémi Walle, On Unsplash, Creative Commons