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The paradox of haptics and contamination: Literature review and research directions

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Haptics (Need for Touch, NFT) is an important element of the product evaluation process. It has also been argued by researchers that people may have a negative evaluation of others' touch on the product they are buying. This paper reviews the existing literature on the effects of 'touch' and 'contamination', both individually and combined. Additionally, it tries to identify and explain situations when other consumers' touch can lead to favourable or unfavourable evaluations. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge in three ways, by (1) providing a comprehensive review of literature on haptics and contamination and their combined impact in both online and offline shopping contexts; (2) presenting diagrams that simplify the understanding of the importance of the 'Need for Touch' and its consequences in the form of contamination cues; and (3) identifying research gaps and presenting previously unaddressed aspects which can serve as directions for future research.
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Keywords: CONTAMINATION; HAPTICS; NEED FOR TOUCH; ONLINE; PRODUCT EVALUATION; RETAIL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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