KEY POINTS

  • A new study revealed people in quarantine may likely to experience "skin hunger"
  • This is the desire of a person to have skin-on-skin contact
  • The study found genes play a role in this behavior of humans 

A new study noted that people under quarantine are starting to experience “skin hunger,” or that craving for a human touch. Surprisingly, genes play a huge factor in determining whether a person constantly yearns for a touch or a hug or not.

Professor Kory Floyd of the University of Arizona studied the relationship between touch, or that skin-on-skin contact and the psyche. In his research published in the Communication Monographs, he noted that there is something special about touch, which he relates to infancy. He emphasized that “touch equals survival as infants,” adding that if people don’t have someone touching them to help meet their needs, then they don’t survive.

Yearning For Touch

In a Fox News report, Floyd pointed out that people who have been living alone because of the lockdown and have been limiting their contact with other individuals could be suffering from what he termed as hereditary “skin hunger.” He then further compared “skin hunger” with that of actual hunger. people in quarantine suffering from skin hunger people in quarantine suffering from skin hunger Photo: fernandozhiminaicela - Pixabay

“Just like regular hunger reminds us that we’re not getting enough to eat, skin hunger is the recognition that we’re not getting enough touch in our lives,” said Floyd. He further added that so many people today admit to the fact that they miss getting hugs, that they miss a touch, and that this aspect of human beings is something that technology has not yet figured out how to give to humans.

The Role of Genetics

Floyd’s study, which investigates affectionate behavior, found that genetics has got a lot to do with women, but not in the same way for men. Data from his study revealed that affection in women is driven by hereditary factors, comprising 45%, and the environment, comprising 55%.  As for men, they mainly rely on the environment, which was quite a surprise.

Floyd’s team studied 464 twins to determine whether or not genetics played a role in how affectionate people were. They found that identical twins, scored similarly as compared to fraternal twins, indicating how their shared DNA contributed to the manner by which they express their affection.

“Our genes simply predispose us to certain kinds of behaviors; that doesn’t automatically mean we’re going to engage in those behaviors,” Floyd stated. He also underscored that the results of the study do not mean that people no longer had any control over this behavior.