As humans, we crave connection and interaction. Touching is one of our instincts. — Dr. Brian Wind, Ph.D.
Touch is the first of the senses to develop in the human infant. It remains perhaps the most emotionally central sense throughout our lives.
"Love in Nepal" by Susan Blick
When we are touched, we release oxytocin, a hormone responsible for regulating positive moods and making us feel happy. The same reaction probably to a slightly lesser extent happens when we see the act of touch and relate to it; whether it is a human touch or from the natural world such as a bee touching a flower. Nowadays with the global social isolation restrictions, many of us are lacking physical touch. We are craving this powerful emotion to address the negative feelings that can come from being in isolation or just lonely in everyday lives.
"Butterfly and flowers" by Tim Ashby-Peckham
While nothing can wholly replace the benefits of positive human touch, virtual alternatives can help alleviate the effects of touch starvation [Source]. In addition to oxytocin, there are a number of "happiness chemicals" responsible for our good moods, including serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and more. By looking at photos these happiness chemicals can be released and evoke positive emotions. Digging deeper into this mechanism, we find mirror neurons in the brain are triggered when we see someone expressing emotions or engaging in activity e.g. such as hugging, touching, shaking hands and so on. These neurons are responsible for feelings of empathy as well as for imitative learning. When you see smiling faces, your mirror neurons will have you smiling without even knowing why. [Source]
"Bubbles" by Mike Bouchier
The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people. And humans can use this ‘failure’ to a huge personal advantage.
"Olivia" by Richard Brooker
With this week’s #Good Challenge, we as photographers can dig out some photos where we preserved the moment of touch (or take new ones!) and post them on our Excio Members’ Community Chat. We’ll take the next step and share them through the app for other people to see. You can always keep updating your own Excio Collections with your photographic gems you find. We will feel happy ourselves just by looking at these wonderful moments in time with family, strangers, pets or wildlife.