What's in a name? Role of verbal context in touch

Supreet Saluja*, Karina Chan, Tully Lynch, Richard J. Stevenson

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Can a name (i.e. verbal context) change how we react to and perceive an object? This question has been addressed several times for chemosensory objects, but appears unanswered for touch. To address this, two studies were run. In each, we allocated participants to a Positive, Neutral or Negative Group, and asked them to touch the same four objects, twice - first, named by the experimenter according to their Group-name, and second, named by the participant. Participants were timed as they touched and rated the objects on pleasantness and disgust. Negative-named objects were touched for shorter durations, and rated more negatively, than neutral-named objects, and positive-named objects were touched for the longest and rated most positively. In the second presentation, most objects (greater than 90%) were named by participants in accordance with their assigned Group-names. The similarity of these findings to chemosensory verbal context effects and their mechanistic basis is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number221147
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalRoyal Society Open Science
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • verbal context
    • tactile behaviour
    • affective perception
    • touch


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