Just Out Of Touch: Embodied Haptic Cues Influence Social Appraisals

Open Access
Ratcliff, Nathaniel John
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 10, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Theresa K Vescio, Thesis Advisor
  • embodied cognition
  • intergroup bias
  • social psychology
Investigations examining Allport’s (1954) contact hypothesis have provided substantial evidence for reduced instances of racial prejudice when people are in close contact with racial outgroups (see Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006 for a review). Similarly, Relational Models Theory (Fiske, 2004) posits that cues such as proximity, touch, and synchrony (e.g., shared traits) help create a sense of communal sharing—commonly found between close kin, friends, and members of social groups. Combining these research domains, the current research aimed to prime participants to feel either a high or low sense of positivity via embodied social cues (i.e., haptic feedback) before they completed an evaluative task. The results showed that participants who experienced smooth haptic feedback (vs. rough), showed better appraisals of job candidates. However, the results were not qualified by an interaction with candidate race on evaluations, behavioral approach, or memory.