"Probing our ability to communicate nonverbally is hardly a new psychological tack," notes a story in the March/April 2013 edition of Psychology Today, adding that "researchers have long documented the complex emotions and desires that our posture, motions, and expressions reveal. Yet until recently, the idea that people can impart and interpret emotional content via another nonverbal modality -- touch -- seemed iffy, even to researchers, such as DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, who study it."
Psychologist Matthew Hertenstein () has empirically supported some of the critical points of Calo’s relational model which requires the use of safe touch. With so many Americans drifting to a preference of cyber relationships it may not be surprising that the United States lags behind many other countries when it comes to understanding and harnessing the power of human to human touch and connection. In one of Hertenstein’s publications, 70 percent of strangers could communicate emotion with one another through nothing more than a touch. Researchers have also found that a supportive touch can ease pain, alleviate stress and encourage peers to participate in class. It might be as simple as a pat on the back, a gentle hug or a supportive touch on the arm. These gestures may seem small, but research shows more and more that touch is a powerful way to communicate emotion and acceptance. Calo students regularly receive peer-peer and staff-student safe touch (defined as side hugs or touch on the upper back or arms).
Clearly, some kinds of touching are always inappropriate—at school or anyplace. But outlawing touching of any kind could have “a higher cost” than anyone imagines. That’s what researcher Matthew Hertenstein, an associate professor of psychology at DePauw University believes.
December 11, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "Say cheese and stay married? Yes, according to Matthew Hertenstein, a psychology professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.," notes this weekend's New York Times Magazine. Dr. Hertenstein, whose research on smiles and divorce received worldwide attention in the spring, is cited in the publication's "Ninth Annual Year in Ideas." As the editors put it, "Like a magpie building its nest, we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009 -- the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity, which, when collected and woven together, form a sort of cognitive shelter, in which the curious mind can incubate, hatch and feather."