Congratulatory Touch

Basic Appreciative & Congratulatory Touches

Appreciative and Congratulatory touches are fairly common. We often hug our close friends, family members, and romantic partners when they do something that makes us feel proud.

Sometimes we might squeeze someone’s hand in congratulations when we find out that he or she won an award or is about to be promoted.

Although people use comforting touches in response to a person’s distressed state, they also use touch in response to something positive a person does.

Jones and Yarbrough (1985) gave several examples of appreciative touches, such as when a boss touches a worker on the shoulder and says, “you did a really great job handling things today”.

In Hertenstein, Keltner, et al.’s (2006) study, people communicated messages of gratitude from behind a curtain by using touches with patting, stroking, and rubbing movement.

In Guerrero and Ebesu’s (1993) study, elementary school-age children sometimes gave one another “high fives” as a way of saying “congratulations” during play.