Dacher Keltner, ‘The science of touch: why physical contact can make you happier and more successful – Touch can deactivate stress regions and was used by primates to form alliances’, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-good-life-human-touch, WIRED UK (15 January 2017).

Touches in games

The roots of human goodness are to be found in the nascent science of human touch. (…) Tactile communication involves a complex communicative system that has been shaped by millions of years of mammalian evolution. (…) Empirical studies find that the right kind of touch, the reassuring pat on the back or warm embrace, elicits in the recipient the release of oxytocin, a neurochemical that promotes trust and co-operation. A soft touch to the arm elicits activation in the orbitofrontal cortex, a region of your frontal lobes that signals expected rewards of an action. Warm, friendly touches of appreciation make others feel esteemed, valued and good. (…) Research team coded all of the observed touches in games played by each team in the US National Basketball Association. (…) The more a team’s players touched each other at the beginning of the season, the better the team played at the season’s end.