How a Harley-Davidson influences your social judgments and decisions

In Science magazine (25.6.2010) the authors Ackerman, Nocera and Bargh wrote:

The touch is both the first sense to develop and a critical means of information acquisition and environmental manipulation.

In more complex words the article continues: Physical touch experiences may create an ontological scaffold for the development of intra-personal and inter-personal conceptual and metaphorical knowledge, as well as a springboard for the application of this knowledge.

Just coming back from a short trip on my Road King Classic, I suddenly fully understand this conclusion. Who did not touch the chrome of their Harley, felt the vibration, wrestled with its weight, sensed the heat from the engine, smelled the exhaust. And all this leads us riders to judgments, preferences and decisions.

Science magazine continues: In six experiments, holding heavy or light clipboards, solving rough or smooth puzzles, and touching hard or soft objects non-consciously influenced impressions and decisions formed about unrelated people and situations.

The article continues: Among other effects, heavy objects (like a Harley engine) made job candidates appear more important, rough objects (like a Harley transmission) made social interactions appear more difficult, and hard objects (like a Harley saddle) increased rigidity in negotiations.

Basic tactile sensations are thus shown to influence higher social cognitive processing in dimension-specific and metaphor-specific ways.

Well, aren’t we lucky to drive a Harley-Davidson influencing our tactile sensations so positively. We are important job candidates, not allays easy in social interactions and rigid in negotiations.

And why not….


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