Touching Behaviour in Conversational Dyads

2144 Words Mar 21st, 2007 9 Pages

Touching Behaviour in Conversational Dyads
Mark-Odean Grant
University of the West Indies, Mona

December 8, 2006

Humans are social and diversely interactive beings. As a result, there is the frequent practice of touching during conversation. This touching may be the conscious decision of individuals, as well as simply a spontaneous form of expression or response. An operational definition of touching would involve the initiation of physical contact between two individuals; for example, shaking hands (Fowler and Fowler, 1969). A conversation involves communication between two individuals by word of mouth (Fowler and Fowler, 1969). Touching as a complement of conversation is very common, but
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Apparatus/Instruments A three section Record Sheet (see Appendix) was designed for the purpose of the study. The sheet had spaces to record the number of hand and body touches of the three types of dyads (F-F, M-M, and M-F) as well as some demographics – the location, date and time the observation was made. Also a timing device (e.g. watch or stopwatch) was used for the purpose of the one minute period of observation. These devices however were selected based on what was available to individual researcher.
Each student of the PS 11A class was given a Record Sheet (see Appendix) for the purpose of recording their observations. Using a haphazard sampling approach, the students unobtrusively observed the three sets of dyads (F-F, M-M and M-F) for one minute, while they were in conversation on the university campus. The number of hands and body touches were recorded for each set of dyads during the minute. Examples of hand touches include hand to hand, hand to face, hand to leg, hand to shoulder. Examples of body touches include body to body, kissing and hugging.) For the purpose of establishing inter-rater reliability, only new touches that took place in the minute were recorded. Accordingly, if the dyads were touching before the minute of observation started, this was not counted or recorded. Also, students, during tutorial sessions were guided as to how to count record touches. This was done through role play exercises where the students (observers)
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