If I Feel Ticklish, I Will Keep My Distance, but If I Feel Itchy, I Will Approach You: Ticklish and Itchy Sensations Influence the Interpersonal Distance

  •  Yasuto Okamura    
  •  Mitsuhiro Ura    


Studies have found metaphor-consistent effects for certain cutaneous sensations. However, no research to date has investigated the influence of ticklish and itchy sensations on social proximity. This study examined possible metaphor-consistent effects between these sensations and social proximity. Participants looked at a photograph inducing a ticklish or an itchy sensation and responded to a questionnaire inquiring about interpersonal distances. Results indicated that participants in the tickling condition desired to maintain more distance to medium-intimate others, whereas those in the itchy condition desired to maintain less distance. These findings confirmed the metaphor-consistent effects of these sensations on social proximity. Theoretical implications of this finding are discussed.

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