What can we do to stay connected in the middle of a pandemic? We’ve all played our part in fighting COVID-19, and for many of us that has meant staying away from our friends and families. In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith explores how this unprecedented period of separation has reinforced the importance of connection. Ginny looks at how video chats compare to in-person interaction, and how psychology could help improve virtual communication in the future. She also examines the importance of touch for reducing stress — and asks whether interactions with our furry friends could make up for a lack of human contact.
Our guests, in order of appearance, are Dr Shane Rogers, lecturer in psychology at Edith Cowan University, Australia, and Professor Patricia Pendry, from Washington State University.
Episode credits: Presented and produced by Ginny Smith. Mixing and editing by Jeff Knowler. PsychCrunch theme music by Catherine Loveday and Jeff Knowler. Art work by Tim Grimshaw. Script edits by Matthew Warren.
Background reading for this episode:
Characteristics of Student– Dog Interaction during a Meet-and-Greet Activity in a University-Based Animal Visitation Program, a paper by Patricia Pendry and colleagues, is free to access thanks to our sponsors Routledge Psychology.
Other research mentioned in this episode includes:
- Contact Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Eye Contact Illusion
- Using dual eye tracking to uncover personal gaze patterns during social interaction
- Animal Visitation Program (AVP) Reduces Cortisol Levels of University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial
There are plenty of posts at both Research Digest and The Psychologist relevant to the topics discussed in this episode, including:
The psychology of eye contact, digested
Psychologists have identified the length of eye contact that people find most comfortable
Living with touch
How well can we communicate emotions purely through touch?
Feeling socially excluded? Try touching a teddy bear (seriously)
The new psychology of health
Animals and psychology
Towards a ‘new normal’ and beyond
Past PsychCrunch episodes:
Episode one: Dating and Attraction
Episode two: Breaking Bad Habits
Episode three: How to Win an Argument
Episode four: The Psychology of Gift Giving
Episode five: How To Learn a New Language
Episode six: How To Be Sarcastic
Episode seven: Use Psychology To Compete Like an Olympian.
Episode eight: Can We Trust Psychological Studies?
Episode nine: How To Get The Best From Your Team
Episode ten: How To Stop Procrastinating
Episode eleven: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Episode twelve: How To Be Funnier
Episode thirteen: How to Study and Learn More Effectively
Episode fourteen: Psychological Tricks To Make Your Cooking Taste Better
Episode fifteen: Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?
Bonus episode (sixteen): What’s It Like To Have No Mind’s Eye?
Episode seventeen: How To Make Running Less Painful And More Fun
Episode eighteen: How To Boost Your Creativity
Episode nineteen: Should We Worry About Screen Time?
Episode twenty: How to cope with pain
PsychCrunch is sponsored by Routledge Psychology.
Routledge interviewed PsychCrunch presenter Christian Jarrett about the aims of the podcast and engaging with the public about psychology research.