Study: Touching sandpaper encourages empathy

Empathy seems to be in short supply, but scientists may have an answer — sandpaper.

Understanding or appreciating the pain or plight of someone else isn’t always easy. There’s an easy way to step into another person’s shoes: touch sandpaper.

Researchers found study participants who touched sandpaper in the moments preceding an appeal for charity were more likely to acquiesce.

“We found that when people were experiencing mild discomfort as a result of touching a rough surface, they were more aware of discomfort in their immediate environment,” Chen Wang, an assistant marketing professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, explained in a news release. “They could better empathize with individuals who were suffering.”


By Brooks Hays