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Communicating non-verbally involves visual cues (visual acuity), gestures (body language), paralanguage (intonation, pitch, speaking speed), oculesics (study of eye movement), chronemics (study of role of time in communication), haptics (communication through touch) and proxemics (study the use of space in communication). Non-verbal communication develops a social-emotional development from a childhood haptics, a non-verbal communication method that communicates through the sense of touch in humans and animals in the real world.

©[Shannon Fagan]/Adobe Stock


The term haptics was derived from Greek “haptikos” focus on medical, technological and biological applications of touch and closely connected with proxemics as haptics and proxemics communicate through space and territory. Haptic communication differs around the world cultures, it is insignificant to touch in Western and British cultures and frequent among Italian and French.


Haptic communication is exclusively designed to course the information quickly. Communicating through non-verbal haptics involves handshake, pat, kiss, slap, hug, massage, hit, kick, embrace, tickle etc. Each touch communicates a unique message like fear, disgust, love, encouragement, gratitude, sympathy, anger, sex, pain, violence etc. Moreover, haptic communication depends on environment and interpretations such as on who, why, when and differs with setting and purpose as professional, friendship, guide, punishment, sympathy, arousal, attention, greeting, seeking, etc.

Communication through touch is an essential part of human social development. Haptic is either intentional or unintentional leads towards either positive or negative consequences. The sense of touch is the effective, direct and intimate way of communication starts from a fetus and helps to sense the world in and around. It carries distinct emotions and the intensity of its emotion may vary as good and bad touch. Non-verbal haptic communication sends messages through sensory nerves and receives messages through brain sensors as it impacts the psychological stimulus. Involuntarily and persistently both humans and animals communicate with their environment through touch, since it’s a basic and vital survival instinct for them. Touch communicates emotions and feelings in a physical form, creates physical intimacy, bonds, rapport, comfort, and amplify.

Haptics is categorized into functional/professional, social/polite, friendship/warmth, love/intimacy, sexual/arousal. Significantly humans communicate non-verbally, they send signs and emotions through many forms which need understanding as touch is critical for effective communication that could be interpreted differently. Haptic communication is correlated with kinesics (eye movement-gaze), where adaptors in gestures are touching movements and behaviours targeted towards self and others like shaking legs, scratching, using mobile phones, clearing throat, etc. Advantages of non-verbal communication are a compliment, substitute, attraction, express, helps physically challenged and illiterate people. Disadvantages are vague, culture bond, difficult to interpret, information distortion and multi-channel.

When there happens no communication through touch, humans feel abandoned and isolated since the basic survival instinct of the six and five sense living organisms is touch. Haptic communication connects and intense in transmitting emotions like task-orientation, ritual interaction, idiosyncratic relationship, emotional attachment, and sexual intent. These categories depend on the tolerance of an individual and intense in sharing feelings as touch with a hidden motive is strategic communication. Touch communication which is an immense method could be with high contact, low contact, and internal differences result in positive and negative correlations. The ability of the human to understand and respond to the haptic communication helps them to decode the encoded message.

Field Application

  1. Touch communication is an effective and intimate way to handle and nurture the children. Anything communicated through touch would be more effective compared with other forms of communication as touch involves physical attachment.
  2. Haptic communication is applied with physically challenged students, where they learn through touch.
  3. Haptic communication widely used in the field of AI (Artificial Intelligence and Robotics sensor system), This system supports the medical haptic methods in surgical and other applications. In the Entertainment industry, the emergence of haptic methods and the haptic sensor provides adequate support for computing and gaming.
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