The Touch Test: Attitudes Towards and Experiences of Touch, 2020


The Touch Test was commissioned by Wellcome Collection and BBC Radio 4 and research carried out by Goldsmiths, University of London. This survey investigated attitudes towards and experiences of touch - a relatively understudied domain compared with other sensory modalities. A large participant sample was recruited, comprising a broad demographic across age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, and employment status. Our key research questions addressed particular gaps in existing knowledge, and included 1) What are people's attitudes and experiences towards touch and how do they vary across different groups? 2) How does touch relate to health and wellbeing throughout adulthood? 3) What is the relationship between touch and the type, size, closeness, and frequency of contacts in a respondent’s social network? 4) What is the topography of social touch (where is it / is it not appropriate to touch someone) and how does this vary between demographic groups? 5) How does touch relate to sleep, and how might this relationship contribute to health and wellbeing? 6) How does touch contribute to medical experiences (e.g. willingness to have interactions with healthcare professionals; perceptions of outcomes of medical treatments)? 7) How open are we to using technology as a tool to provide or augment our tactile experiences (e.g. for medical treatments; for long-distance relationships)?

Data was collected through an online survey (held on the Qualtrics survey platform). The survey was launched on BBC Radio 4 and the online link made available through radio broadcasts and associated websites. A volunteer sample was recruited based on those who chose to follow the link and take part. Participants needed to be aged 18 or over and give their consent to participate. The survey required internet access and could be completed on a computer, phone or tablet, and took around 45 minutes. Participants could choose to answer all the questions at once, or to take a break and come back at any time within 7 days. They could also choose to exit the survey at any point.

Metadata Access
Creator Bowling, N, University of Greenwich; Vafeiadou, A, Goldsmiths, University of London; Banissy, M, Goldsmiths, University of London
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2020
Funding Reference Wellcome Collection; BBC Radio 4
Rights Michael Banissy, Goldsmiths, University of London. Natalie Bowling, University of Greenwich; The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Numeric; Text
Discipline Psychology; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage World Wide