BEING IN TOUCH

DESIGN TOOLS FOR NAVIGATING OUR INNATE HUMAN NEEDS IN THE MODERN WORKPLACE

1.     Touch Hunger

“Touch hunger” describes the innate desire for healthy human touch. While this need has been studied in historically extreme situations such as solitary confinement in prisons and failure to thrive in orphaned infants, it is rarely discussed in the context of healthy adulthood. Often misunderstood as sexual desire, touch hunger merely describes the need for skin-to-skin interaction with other humans. Deficiencies from this lack of human physical contact are known to cause serious malformations both mentally and physically. In extreme cases individuals have increased predispositions for depression and other anxiety-associated mental illness, difficulty with empathy and forming long- lasting relationships, decreased embodied cognition, and increased likelihood of stunted physical development and illness  (Montagu, 1986).

In the past decade, as technological communication has increasingly dominated social interaction and instances of loneliness, depression, and workplace disengagement in North America have begun to rise, touch hunger has slowly entered the conversation as a (...read more)

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