London, Sep 7: Music is known to evoke a range of emotions and researchers have now found that it can even influence our sense of touch. The sexier we find the music, more sensual becomes the touch for us, according to the study. "We have observed that the sexier we perceive music, the sexier we also perceive touch that is administered simultaneously," said study leader Tom Fritz from Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, involved a robot administering incognito touches. Study participants placed their forearm through a curtain where it was stroked by a controlled robot movement.
At the same time they listened to pieces of music, which they later evaluated on a scale of being "not at all sexy" and "extremely sexy". In one of their experiments that involved a human assistant, the researchers found that the sexiness of music is transferred to the touch experience. Interestingly, when the participants knew in advance that they would be stroked by a robot rather than by a person in the experiment, the music still had the same effect regarding sexiness of touch. Using a robot's automatically controlled brush did not just ensure that the duration and intensity of contact was always the same, it could additionally demonstrate that the observed transfer effects from music to touch are based on very basal mechanisms -- rather than by a person's imagination to be touched by a person of a certain sex or attractiveness who listens to the same music. "Music seems to change our perception of touch. Certain features seem to be transferred from music to touch," Fritz said. One explanation could be that the emotional expression in single musical sounds follows the same dynamics as emotional expression with touch, the study said.