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Former Vice President Joe Biden has always been a physically affectionate man, but recently that touching has become controversial. We turn to experts in social and personality psychology to help us understand what is going on.
Our experts suggested that at least seven different psychological processes may be at play:
1. Touch signals caring and support: The role of the need to belong
“I am deeply moved if I see one man suffering and would risk my life for him. Then I talk impersonally about the possible pulverization of our big cities, with a hundred million dead. I am unable to multiply one man’s suffering by a hundred million.” —Albert Szent-Györgyi
Women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population and have equal voting rights, yet are politically underrepresented. The country has never had a female president or vice president. Only 3.5 percent of Supreme Court justices have been women, and women make up only 20 percent of Congress.