Get access

Autotelic need for touch, haptics, and persuasion: The role of involvement


  • We would like to thank the Madison Symphony Orchestra for their cooperation on this project. This research was funded, in part, by a grant to the first author from the University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate school.


Previous research has shown that a touch or haptic element attached to a persuasive appeal can increase persuasion, particularly for individuals who have a clear preference for touch to enjoy its sensory feedback (high autotelics). This research extends previous work by including involvement in the context of an appeal by a nonprofit. We find, in an experiment where we manipulate involvement, that when a haptic element is present, high autotelics are more persuaded regardless of their involvement with the message. However, for low autotelics, a haptic element increases persuasion under conditions of low versus high involvement with the message. A second experiment measures involvement and finds that again, under low involvement conditions, both high and low autotelics are persuaded by a touch element. Finally, a field study with a local symphony orchestra is conducted in which involvement with the message is low but involvement with the company is high. In this case, a touch element is only persuasive for high autotelics. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.