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Touch is the first language that we learn says Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She was commenting on an article in the NY Times discussing the power of touch through a series of studies recently conducted. For example, a study found that a sympathetic touch from a doctor leaves people with the impression that the visit lasted twice as long, compared with estimates from people who were untouched. Another study showed that students who received a supportive touch on the back or arm from a teacher were nearly twice as likely to volunteer in class as those who did not. It's not just the contact that is powerful, but the message the touch sends. Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, had volunteers attempt to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, some with about 70 percent accuracy. It doesn't take much to connect the dots that happier or more satisfied marriages will have more loving touch in them. Christopher Oveis of Harvard conducted five-minute interviews with 69 couples, prompting each pair to discuss difficult periods in their relationship. The investigators scored the frequency and length of touching that each couple, seated side by side, engaged in. Although the results are preliminary Oveis told the NY Times that it seemed that the couples who touch more are reporting more satisfaction in the relationship. This could be a chicken and egg scenario where satisfied couples touch more and therefore would show more satisfaction in a study like this, but the other data also reveals the power of touch. One thing's is for certain, it can't hurt to give your spouse a love tap.

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