By Steven G. Mehta

There have been several studies over the years that show that slight physical contact between two people interacting is good for the connectivity of the person.  However, I just saw an article that reflects that touching might increase risk taking.  Here is an abstract of the article:

We show that minimal physical contact can increase people’s sense of security and consequently lead them to increased risk-taking behavior. In three experiments, with both hypothetical and real payoffs, a female experimenter’s light, comforting pat on the shoulder led participants to greater financial risk taking. Further, this effect was both mediated and moderated by feelings of security in both male and female participants. Finally, we established the boundary conditions for the impact of physical contact on risk-taking behaviors by demonstrating that the effect does not occur when the touching is performed by a male and is attenuated when the touch consists of a handshake. The results suggest that subtle physical contact can be strongly influential in decision making and the willingness to accept risk.

To see the full article, click here

This research could have some interesting implications for female mediators.  It suggests that they should be conscious of “touch” because it could inadvertently affect the decision makers.  The good news, however, is that women have certain powers that men will never have and that science is only now learning about.