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Physical Touch Affects Emotional Mood: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions and Answers

Updated on 23 January, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

In the realm of human interactions, physical touch holds a significant yet often understated role in influencing emotional moods. This article delves into the complex interplay between tactile sensations and emotional responses, offering insights into how the simplest forms of contact can profoundly affect our emotional well-being.

Passage: The Subtle Power of Touch in Shaping Emotions

In an era where digital communication has overshadowed personal interactions, the importance of physical touch in shaping our emotional moods often remains an understated aspect of human behavior. This passage explores the multifaceted role of touch in emotional development, communication, and well-being.

The Biological Basis of Touch

Touch, the first sense developed in the human fetus, is more than just a means of physical interaction; it's a complex language that speaks volumes about our emotional states. Biologically, when we experience a physical touch, our skin's receptors send signals to the brain, which then interprets these signals and elicits emotional responses. Neuroscientists have discovered that a specific type of receptor, known as C-tactile fibers, responds optimally to gentle, caressing touches and is directly linked to the emotional processing areas of the brain. These touches trigger the release of oxytocin, often dubbed the 'love hormone', which plays a significant role in forming social bonds and enhancing emotional well-being.

Touch in Early Development

The significance of touch begins right from infancy. Studies in developmental psychology have shown that infants who receive adequate physical contact, such as holding and cuddling, exhibit better emotional health, reduced anxiety, and improved cognitive development. This is particularly evident in studies of orphaned children who, deprived of consistent nurturing touch, often face emotional and developmental challenges. This early tactile interaction forms the cornerstone of an individual’s ability to form emotional connections and empathize with others throughout their lives.

Touch Across Cultures

Cultural norms significantly influence the perception and use of touch. In some societies, touch is a common language of affection and solidarity, while in others, it is reserved for only the closest relationships. These cultural nuances in touch not only dictate social interactions but also shape individuals' emotional expressions and interpretations. Understanding this cultural context is essential in a globalized world, as it affects interpersonal relationships and emotional exchanges.

The Therapeutic Power of Touch

In therapeutic settings, touch has been utilized as a powerful tool for emotional healing. From psychotherapy to massage therapy, the incorporation of touch can significantly enhance the treatment of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. The physical contact in these therapies provides a sense of security, reduces stress levels, and can even alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders.

Touch in Adult Relationships

In adult life, touch continues to play a critical role in expressing emotions and maintaining emotional balance. A handshake, a pat on the back, or a hug can convey support, empathy, or love more effectively than words. In romantic relationships, touch is a key component of emotional intimacy, often strengthening the emotional bond between partners. However, the meaning and impact of touch vary greatly based on the context, relationship, and individual preferences.

The Impact of a Touch-Deprived Society

Today’s digital-centric lifestyle poses a unique challenge to the role of physical touch in our lives. With an increasing reliance on digital forms of communication, there is a growing concern about the emotional implications of a touch-deprived society. Research suggests that lack of physical interaction can lead to feelings of isolation, emotional detachment, and even affect mental health. This raises an important question: how do we balance the convenience of digital communication with the emotional need for physical touch?


The intricate relationship between physical touch and emotional mood underscores a fundamental aspect of human nature. Whether it's a mother's embrace, a friend's reassuring pat, or a lover's caress, touch has the power to convey a depth of emotion that words often cannot. As we navigate through an increasingly virtual world, it becomes imperative to remember the irreplaceable value of a simple touch and its profound impact on our emotional well-being.

Questions and Answers

Q1. According to the passage, what hormone is released due to physical touch in infants?

  1. Adrenaline
  2. Oxytocin
  3. Serotonin
  4. Dopamine

A1. The correct answer is B. Oxytocin. The passage mentions that touch stimulates pathways in the brain, releasing oxytocin, which is crucial in establishing emotional bonds in infants.

Q2. True or False: The article suggests that physical touch is less important in adult life than in infancy.

  1. True
  2. False

A2. The correct answer is B. False. The passage indicates that physical touch remains important in adult life for various aspects of emotional well-being, including coping with stress, anxiety, and expressing emotions like empathy and support.

Q3. How is physical touch utilized in therapeutic settings?

  1. For physical healing
  2. For emotional healing
  3. To improve cognitive skills
  4. To enhance physical strength

A3. The correct answer is B. For emotional healing. The passage mentions that in therapeutic settings, touch is used as a tool for healing, helping individuals cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Q4. Fill in the blank: Physical touch can convey a ______ of emotions and intentions.

  1. confusion
  2. spectrum
  3. limitation
  4. contradiction

A4. The correct answer is B. spectrum. The passage indicates that physical touch can convey a spectrum of emotions and intentions, ranging from empathy to comfort.

Q5. Which hormone is referred to as the "love hormone" in the passage?

  1. Adrenaline
  2. Cortisol
  3. Oxytocin
  4. Insulin

A5. The correct answer is C. Oxytocin. The passage refers to oxytocin as the "love hormone," highlighting its role in establishing emotional bonds and trust.

Q6. True or False: The article implies that physical touch is not significant in non-therapeutic adult relationships.

  1. True
  2. False

A6. The correct answer is B. False. The article suggests that physical touch is significant in adult relationships for communicating emotions like empathy and support.

Q7. In the context of the passage, what role does touch play in infant growth?

  1. It enhances physical strength.
  2. It is crucial for emotional bonding.
  3. It improves cognitive abilities.
  4. It is not significant.

A7. The correct answer is B. It is crucial for emotional bonding. The passage emphasizes that physical touch is vital in infant growth and emotional bonding.

Q8. According to the passage, what issue is raised by the shift to virtual connections?

  1. Increased efficiency in communication.
  2. Loss of emotional depth in relationships.
  3. The emotional implications of a touch-deprived society.
  4. Improved global connectivity.

A8. The correct answer is C. The emotional implications of a touch-deprived society. The passage raises concerns about the emotional implications of reduced physical interactions in a digitally dominated world.

Q9. Fill in the blank: Touch stimulates pathways in the brain, releasing _______, which fosters a sense of trust.

  1. Dopamine
  2. Serotonin
  3. Oxytocin
  4. Endorphins

A9. The correct answer is C. Oxytocin. The passage states that touch releases oxytocin in the brain, which fosters a sense of trust and security.

Q10. The passage suggests that the role of touch in emotional health is often _______ in a digital world.

  1. overemphasized
  2. understood
  3. overlooked
  4. appreciated

A10. The correct answer is C. overlooked. The passage indicates that in a digital world, the significance of physical touch in emotional health is often overlooked, underscoring the need for a reevaluation of its role.


Physical touch, an essential element of human interaction, has a profound impact on emotional mood. This article highlights its significance across different stages of life, therapeutic settings, and cultural contexts. As we navigate a world increasingly inclined towards virtual interactions, understanding and valuing the power of touch becomes more crucial than ever.

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upGrad Abroad Team

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