group hug

Do More High 5s, Ass Slaps Lead to Better NBA Players?

According to UC Berkeley researchers Michael W. Kraus, Cassy Huang, and Dacher Keltner, the more NBA players touch each other, the more it indicates they’ll do well during the season. “Tactile communication, or physical touch, promotes cooperation between people, communicates distinct emotions, soothes in times of stress, and is used to make inferences of warmth and trust. Based on this conceptual analysis, we predicted that in group competition, physical touch would predict increases in both individual and group performance. In an ethological study, we coded the touch behavior of players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) during the 2008-2009 regular season. Consistent with hypotheses, early season touch predicted greater performance for individuals as well as teams later in the season.” [Study PDF, via]