Healing Hugs

Jennifer Randall, Reporter

A new study suggests that reaching out and touching someone, consensually, can reduce bad feeling associated with the typical ups and downs of social interactions. The study came from the department of phycology at Carnegie Mellon University which was published this week in PLOS ONE. It looked at the social interactions of over 400 people in two weeks. The number of hugs a person gave or received revealed a link between moods, physical interactions, conflicts, and emotional states.  

Hugging helped people felt better after conflicts or a negative event during their day, the study reads. The effect was seen across all genders and ages in the study, but women were reported to give and receive more hugs than men.  

“Our results are consistent with the conclusion that both men and women may benefit equally from being hugged on days when conflict occurs,” says the study. It did not seem to matter in the study if the huggers were in a romantic or platonic relationship at the time of the hug.  

The study itself was authored by Michael Murphy. He says that the research can be improved upon by finding out what kind of social partners give the hug. A hug from mom would feel different than a hug from a stranger or someone you were just arguing with.  

Either way, there isn’t a downside to hugging seen yet.