Experimental Research Examining how People can Cope with Uncertainty through Soft Haptic Sensations

F. Van Horen, T. Mussweiler

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Abstract

Human beings are constantly surrounded by uncertainty and change. The question arises how people cope with such uncertainty. To date, most research has focused on the cognitive strategies people adopt to deal with uncertainty. However, especially when uncertainty is due to unpredictable societal events (e.g., economical crises, political revolutions, terrorism threats) of which one is unable to judge the impact on one’s future live, cognitive strategies (like seeking additional information) is likely to fail to combat uncertainty. Instead, the current paper discusses a method demonstrating that people might deal with uncertainty experientially through soft haptic sensations. More specifically, because touching something soft creates a feeling of comfort and security, people prefer objects with softer as compared to harder properties when feeling uncertain. Seeking for softness is a highly efficient and effective tool to deal with uncertainty as our hands are available at all times. This protocol describes a set of methods demonstrating 1) how environmental (un)certainty can be situationally activated with an experiential priming procedure, 2) that the quality of the softness experience (what type of softness and how it is experienced) matters and 3) how uncertainty can be reduced using different methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e53155
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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