The Midas Touch Effect

Posted on September 1, 2016

Photo: flickr

An old study of waitresses that showed both male and female customers give bigger tips when they are lightly touched by a waitress. This points to the power of non-sexual touching, and the finding that both men and women appear to like being touched by women - but not necessarily men. The root of all this, at least some researchers argue, goes back to mothers, who early in life make most of us feel more secure - and gain our compliance - through physical warmth and affection. Certainly, fathers play that role too, but across societies, women do most of the touching and holding of newborns. And, of course, even the most affectionate father is incapable of breast-feeding!

In 1984, researchers Crusco and Wetzel examined the effects of interpersonal touch on restaurant tipping. They examined the effects of two types of touch in a restaurant setting. The waitresses in this study were instructed to briefly touch customers either on the hand, on the shoulder, or not to touch them at all as they were returning their change after they had received the bill. Crusco and Wetzel used the size of the tip given by the customer to the waitress as their independent variable. Surprisingly, the researchers found that the tipping rate of both male and female customers was significantly higher in both of the touching conditions than in the baseline no-touch condition (a phenomenon that has been labelled the ‘Midas touch’ effect).

A brand new study follows in this tradition of research on the power of nonsexual touching by women. A series of experiments by Jonathan Levav and Jennifer Argo just published in Psychological Science shows that both men and women who are lightly touched by a woman on the back are more likely to take bigger financial risk in an investment game than those not touched at all, or touched by a man.

To read the full article, click on the link below.

Category(s):Emotional Intelligence, Other

Source material from Psychology Today