Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA

Michael W. Kraus, Cassey Huang, Dacher Keltner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Tactile communication, or physical touch, promotes cooperation between people, communicates distinct emotions, soothes in times of stress, and is used to make inferences of warmth and trust. Based on this conceptual analysis, we predicted that in group competition, physical touch would predict increases in both individual and group performance. In an ethological study, we coded the touch behavior of players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) during the 2008-2009 regular season. Consistent with hypotheses, early season touch predicted greater performance for individuals as well as teams later in the season. Additional analyses confirmed that touch predicted improved performance even after accounting for player status, preseason expectations, and early season performance. Moreover, coded cooperative behaviors between teammates explained the association between touch and team performance. Discussion focused on the contributions touch makes to cooperative groups and the potential implications for other group settings.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages745-749
Number of pages5
JournalEmotion
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Fingerprint

Basketball
Touch
Communication
Cooperative Behavior
Emotions

Keywords

  • Cooperation
  • Status
  • Tactile communication
  • Team performance
  • Touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Kraus, M. W., Huang, C., & Keltner, D. (2010). Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA. Emotion, 10(5), 745-749. DOI: 10.1037/a0019382

Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance : An Ethological Study of the NBA. / Kraus, Michael W.; Huang, Cassey; Keltner, Dacher.

In: Emotion, Vol. 10, No. 5, 10.2010, p. 745-749.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kraus, MW, Huang, C & Keltner, D 2010, 'Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA' Emotion, vol 10, no. 5, pp. 745-749. DOI: 10.1037/a0019382
Kraus MW, Huang C, Keltner D. Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA. Emotion. 2010 Oct;10(5):745-749. Available from, DOI: 10.1037/a0019382
Kraus, Michael W. ; Huang, Cassey ; Keltner, Dacher. / Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance : An Ethological Study of the NBA. In: Emotion. 2010 ; Vol. 10, No. 5. pp. 745-749
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