Reach for teddy to soothe fears and tears

By admin
20 November 2013

A recent study by Dr Sander Koole and his team at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in the Netherlands found touch calms people’s fears. And this comforting touch can also be provided by your favourite soft friend.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, your teddy bear really can make you feel better.   Tim Evanson on Flickr 

The study found people with a poor self-image derived security from the touch of someone – or something – else, even if it was just a hand on the shoulder. It showed that these people seek touch when confronted by their unavoidable deaths.

Psychologists asked the participants what financial value they would attach to a specific teddy bear. The half that had been reminded of death beforehand set the value at nearly twice that of the half that hadn’t had a discussion about death.

“Our findings show that even touching an inanimate object — such as a teddy bear — can soothe existential fears,” Sander notes. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.”

-Alet van Zyl

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Picture: Tim Evanson on Flickr

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