When I shake hand with a person using my right hand, I touch the elbow of the person with my left hand and it has created powerful result. I learnt this from a research article ‘The Phone Booth Test’, experiments conducted by researchers from The University of Minnesota. They placed the coin on the edge of a telephone booth, waited for unsuspecting subject to walk in and find it When this happened, one of the researchers would approach the subject and say, ‘Did you happen to see my coin in that phone booth? I need it to make another call.’ Only 23% of the subjects admitted they had found it and gave it back.
In the second part of the study, the coin was again placed in the phone booth but when the researchers approached the people who took it, they touched them lightly on the elbow for not longer than three seconds and inquired about the coin. This time, 68% admitted to having the coin, looked embar- rassed and said things like, ‘I was looking around to try to see who owned it…’
This shows that skillful elbow-touching can give three times better results to achieve. There are three reasons this technique works: first, the elbow is considered a public space and is far away from intimate parts of the body; second, touching a stranger is not considered acceptable in most countries so it creates an impression; and third, a light, three-second elbow touch creates a momentary bond between two people. When we replicated this experiment for a television programme, it was found the coin return rate varied from culture to culture depending on what the normal touch frequency was in a particular place. For example, with elbow touching, the coin was returned by 72% of Australians, 70% of English, 85% of Germans, 50% of French and 22% of Italians. This result shows how the elbow touch works better in places where frequent touching is not the cultural norm. The touch frequencies (were recorded) between people in outdoor cafes in many of the countries we regularly visit and noted 220 touches an hour in Rome, 142 per hour in Paris, 25 touches an hour in Sydney, 4 per hour in New York and 0 per hour in London. This confirms that the more British or German your heritage, the less likely you are to touch others and, therefore, the more successful an elbow
touch will be on you.
Overall, it was found that women were four times more likely to touch another woman than was a man to touch another man. In many places, touching a stranger above or below the elbow did not produce the same positive results as with directly touching the elbow and often received negative reactions. Touching for more than three seconds also received a negative response, with the person suddenly looking down at your hand to see what you are doing.