Tense from Touch: Examining Accidental Interpersonal Touch between Consumers

Brett Martin, Peter Nuttall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)
182 Downloads (Pure)


Retail shopping research recognizes that other consumers in a store can impact a consumer’s experience. However, the effects of accidental interpersonal touch (AIT) are only beginning to emerge in the literature. The current research presents three field experiments to illuminate the process that drives AIT effects. This research is the first to show that AIT effects are driven by arousal; specifically tense arousal rather than energetic arousal. The findings build on prior research to investigate moderators of the AIT effect – trait anxiety and social visibility. The findings show that AIT effects are amplified for anxious female consumers and situations where store bystanders activate feelings of embarrassment. Theoretical and managerial implications are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-955
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number10
Early online date12 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Retailing; Accidental interpersonal touch; Tense arousal; Energetic arousal; Consumer emotion; Field experiments.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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