Episodes

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01Touch Hunger20201005In Anatomy of Touch Claudia Hammond asks whether people have enough touch in their lives and what has been the impact of Covid-19.

Covid-19 and social distancing have changed how most people feel about touch but even before Covid-19 there was a concern about the decrease of touch in society. Michael Bannissy of Goldsmiths University of London discusses the results of the BBC Touch test and leading researchers reveal their findings about the lack of touch.

Claudia meets John, who, growing up during the Second World War, endured a lack of touch in his childhood and discovers how in adult life he overcame this absence of touch and why touch remains so important to him. And we discover solutions to touch hunger and simple ways to compensate for the lack of touch.

How important is touch to us? Claudia Hammond reveals the BBC Touch Test results.

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02Don't Touch20201006Campaigner and activist Amy Kavanagh is partially sighted and on her daily trip to work receives much unwanted touch. Some touch from strangers is well meaning but without her consent, while she is also subject to abusive and violent touch. In Anatomy of Touch Dr Natalie Bowling from Greenwich University and co-creator of the BBC Touch Test looks at what the results tell us about touch between strangers.

Where do people find it acceptable for strangers to touch them, what are the differences between men and women, how would most people like to be greeted by their boss and is it OK for your boss to kiss you at a party?

The study looked at attitudes around consent and Joanna Bourke Professor of History at Birkbeck University looks at issues of consent and entitlement. And while it might seem that social distancing would prevent unwanted touch, evidence suggests that there is a transfer of the abuse online. Meanwhile for Amy she isn't travelling to work anymore because Covid means she can't see who is around her and the risk of catching Covid is too high. But she does have a campaign ready for when she can travel again which is #JustAskDon'tGrab.

BBC Touch Test looks at attitudes to touch from strangers and work colleagues.

How important is touch to us? Claudia Hammond reveals the BBC Touch Test results.

03Touch Culture20201007At the Pink Diamond Martial Arts Club Hasina teaches Luton women from all cultures to defend themselves physically. This form of touch helped Hasina overcome the bullying of her childhood. But how do early experiences and cultural influences shape how you feel about touch? Stereotypes abound for different nationalities, for example, the reserved British person complete with a stiff upper lip or the ebullient Italian. Michael Banissy from Goldsmiths University of London, writer of the Touchstone Tales, Sudha Bhuchar and Juulia Suvilehto from Linkoping University in Sweden look at the results of the Touch Test and ask if attitudes to touch are more nuanced than outdated stereotypes.

How much does the culture we grow up in effect who we touch and how we touch?

How important is touch to us? Claudia Hammond reveals the BBC Touch Test results.

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04Health And Touch20201008Left isolating in London during lock down, flatmates B and Z came up with a plan to stay healthy with a 6 o'clock hug.

Hugging releases a mix of anti-stress chemicals that can lower the blood pressure, decrease anxiety and help sleep. Researchers Michael Banissy, Tiffany Field and Merle Fairhurst look at the evidence for the health benefits of touch and Claudia asks whether 25 seconds is long enough?

Left isolating in London B and Z came up with a plan to stay healthy with a 6 o'clock hug.

How important is touch to us? Claudia Hammond reveals the BBC Touch Test results.

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05Digital Touch20201009Can touch be replicated digitally? What devices exist already and how likely are we to use them?

Michael Banissy co-creator of the Touch Test, neuroscientist DAVID EAGLEMAN and researcher Carey Jewitt look at the possibilities for touch technologies in the future. David has developed a wristband that translates sound into touch for deaf people, Carey looks at the ethics of digital touch and Michael reveals the attitudes from the Touch Test towards digital technologies. If we could replicate the feeling of holding a loved one's hand in hospital would it really be the same?

Can touch ever be replicated digitally? And can we train our sense of touch to hear?

How important is touch to us? CLAUDIA HAMMOND reveals the BBC Touch Test results.