Mediated Social Touching: Haptic Feedback Affects Social Experience of Touch Initiators

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Mediated social touch enables us to share hugs, handshakes, and caresses at a distance. Past work has focused on the experience of being touched by a remote person, but the touch initiator’s experience is underexplored. We ask whether a variation in haptic feedback can influence the touch initiator’s social experience of the interaction. In a user study participants stroked a remote person’s hand in virtual reality while feeling no haptic feedback, ultrasonic stimulation, or passive feedback from a silicone hand. In each condition, they rated the pleasantness of the interaction, the friendliness of the remote person, and their sense of co-presence. We also captured the velocity of their stroking and asked for reflections on the interaction and mediated social touch as a whole. The results show significant effects of haptic feedback on co-presence, pleasantness, and stroking velocity. The qualitative responses suggest that these results are due to the familiarity of the solid silicone hand, and the participants’ assumption that when they felt feedback, the remote person felt similar feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC)
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC) - TUI Delft, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jul 202313 Jul 2023


Conference2023 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC)
LocationTUI Delft

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