This is what the perfect hug is like (according to science)

It might seem like a "nerdy" study and bordering on spoetizing, but the one conducted by scientists tells us what the perfect hug is like

It might seem like a "nerdy" study and bordering on the hype, but the one conducted by the University of London at Goldsmiths really tells us what theperfect hug.

The research was conducted in two parts: in the first, which took place on the premises of the University, the researchers recruited 45 university students and blindfolded them, one at a time. A researcher then entered the room and hugged each volunteer for 1, 5 or 10 seconds, each time and in two ways, "crossed" and "neck-waist" style.

In the first mode, they both place one arm over their shoulder and the other under their partner's arm. In the second, the researcher placed both arms under the participants. In total, each participant received six hugs. Everyone was then asked to evaluate them according to their emotions.

In general, the style of the hug did not influence the judgment much, but the volunteers, unanimously, rated hugs lasting less than 1 second as the least pleasant. And if 10 seconds seems like an embarrassing time to hug a stranger, that's actually the case scientifically too.

So much so that, while at the beginning the participants reported a certain sense of "estrangement", as they entered into a semblance of confidence they no longer seemed prey to it.

But two factors have not yet been investigated: what happens with a hug lasting more than 10 seconds and the sensations related to the pressure of the hug. Researchers believe that theintimacy of the relationship affect this too.

If the hug is romantic, [the pressure] may be greater than in a more casual one

reports Julian Packheiser, a Ruhr-University of Bochum biopsychologist not involved in the study

Read also: The hug test: the way you hug each other reveals unexpected couple dynamics

©Acta Psychologica

In the second phase of the experiment, everything happened in the real world; Specifically, the researchers recruited 100 pairs of students observed socializing on campus with hugs in public, gathering data on gender, height and details on the emotionality of the relationship.

Without asking students how to hug, the researchers found that the crossover style was more common, accounting for 66 out of 100 hugs. this style.

Neither emotional closeness nor height had a significant effect on hug style: however, the researchers note that most participants were relatively close in height and speculate that the "neck-to-waist" style may be more common when the heights differ more drastically.

According to scholars, however, the male-to-male preference for cross-hugging was particularly interesting, confirming previous work that indicated how people felt “equal” in this way. Furthermore, the intersection could convey closeness without adding a romantic subtext, as confirmed by the interviews then conducted on the volunteers.

But what then is the perfect hug?

The study argues that the safer and most likely more enjoyable hug is the long one from 5 to 10 seconds with the arms crossed.

Although - without detracting from science - perhaps it is where each of us feels he is himself. And on certain occasions perhaps we would like a hug to never end.

The work was published in Acta Psychologica.

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Sources: Science Magazine / Acta Psychologica

Read also:

  • What happens to your body and brain with a hug. Why does it make you feel so good?
  • 10 benefits of a hug
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