Once More, With Feeling: the Effect of Touch on Risk-Taking

Jennifer Argo, University of Alberta, Canada
Jonathan Levav, Columbia University, USA
Physical contact is a fundamental aspect of both the human and other mammalian experience. In this paper we argue that certain forms of touch can increase consumers’ sense of security and consequently lead them to make riskier financial choices. We focus on an open-palmed, comforting light pat on the shoulder. In three experiments with both hypothetical as well as real payoffs we show that such a shoulder touch leads to greater risk-seeking and that this effect is mediated by feelings of security. We also test the effect of a handshake and find that it does not generate increased risk-taking.
[ to cite ]:
Jennifer Argo and Jonathan Levav (2010) ,"Once More, With Feeling: the Effect of Touch on Risk-Taking", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 280-283 .