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Title: Cross-cultural similarities and differences of social touch : a literature review
Authors: Tan, Zheng Yee
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: There has been considerable interest in the research on cultural variations of our cognition and behavior. However, relatively little is known about cultural variations on interpersonal touch, such as touching behaviors with those from family members and those to strangers. The division between a biologically-driven perspective and culturally-driven perspective has long been a subject in the field of interpersonal touch research. However, current literature has yet to provide conclusive answers, partly due to fewer studies examining this psychological phenomenon than well-understood ones (e.g., facial expressions). Could biological mechanisms explain for psychological phenomenon of social touch, or could a more complex cultural perspective provide a better understanding? Thus, this thesis aims to provide reviews on previous literatures on this topic. A possible framework of enquiry was suggested by Norenzayan & Heine (2005). Their framework represents the concept of universality in a spectrum, and each classification is influenced by cultural factors to varying degrees. This has led the author to hypothesize that instead of subscribing to either a pure-biological or pure-cultural perspective, it might be more adequate to critically analyze this psychological phenomenon’s degree of universality (or non- universality) along a spectrum according to different levels and classifications of universality. The present report begins with a brief introduction and outlining the current literature of interpersonal social touch. Next, the author will examine the biological notion of interpersonal touch as part of a biological (cultural-independent) argument. The author will then discuss the cultural dependency of interpersonal touch – explaining the transmission of cultural norms, placing emphasis on studies conducted on cultural proxemics. Lastly, the author will suggest different methodologies and frameworks in which future inter-cultural studies may consider, as well as suggesting a viable direction for future research with expected results.
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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