Science says hugging robot good for health

No Tinder Matches? Hug A Robot! Science Says It’s (Almost) As Good As A Real Human

3 min read

This article is for general information purposes only and isn’t intended to be financial product advice. You should always obtain your own independent advice before making any financial decisions. The Chainsaw and its contributors aren’t liable for any decisions based on this content.



In welcome news for losers the world over, it seems science has proven that hugging a robot could boost your health. Lovely!

According to a review and meta-analysis, published in Nature Human Behaviour, there’s strong evidence of health benefits for humans who engage in physical touch with other humans (no shit) or objects, including weighted blankets and robots(!).

The research involved “a systematic review and meta-analysis of a total of 212 studies, involving a total of 12,966 individuals, to explore the health benefits of touch”, according to a press release.

The research found that physical touch from humans, animals and objects can reduce feelings of pain and depression in adults, children and even newborns. The research suggests physical touch is integral to feelings of both physical and mental wellbeing.

The fact that human touch is good for us isn’t really surprising. It’s the first sense to develop in newborns, and it is the primary way we directly interact with the world. You’re literally constantly touching something — unless you’re reading this on the ISS, floating about the place. But even then, you’d have to be completely naked to not be touching anything. And I doubt the fun police that run the ISS would allow that.

Although robots and other objects did prove to have positive physical and mental health implications, human touch proved superior to touching an object. Still, this is positive news. Some benefit is better than none, and as we head over closer to a world where at-home robots are the norm, we could see a future where lonely people across the globe gain the benefits of physical touch from their own robot companions. 

The study also found that not all touch is created equal. Although massaging and hugging were found to have the same benefits, the area in which the touch occurred played a role in how beneficial it was. Face and scalp touch, for example, proved to be more beneficial than other body parts including the torso.

So, if you’re feeling lonely, don’t lose hope — you might soon have your very own robot to hug and hold dear.

Until then, maybe go hug a toaster. Science says it works 🙂