Hacking Fear

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Research is guiding us toward new ways of stamping out problematic anxieties, such as phobias, by attacking them on multiple fronts.


Clutching a teddy bear or curling up on the couch during a thunderstorm doesn’t just feel good—something about touching soft materials actually soothes our worries. A team of European researchers put soft textures to the test across four experiments. They measured participants’ preferences for hard and soft pen grips and candy and the effect of holding a soft fabric when thinking about uncertainty in the world and in their lives. “Holding something soft increased people’s tolerance for uncertainty in daily life,” says Femke Van Horen, a researcher at VU University Amsterdam. While interpersonal touch has also been shown to have soothing effects, therapists might use a soft blanket to help ease clients without touching them.

Period2 Sep 2014

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