Tactile response and shifting touch preference

Marilyn Delong, Juanjuan Wu, Juyeon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Tactile response is explored through recall of subjects for fabric preferences. Shifts in touch preference may occur in one's experience and require bringing the touch experience to one's awareness. To investigate such shifts in preference, subjects who were studying to be designers taking an introductory design course were asked in an openended format to describe fabrics they liked to touch. Responses from 123 subjects were analyzed and the three most frequently listed properties they liked to touch were soft, smooth, and warm. Wool was listed by 41 percent as a fabric they disliked touching. Fabrics associated with shifting touch preferences from dislike to like included wool and cotton. Reasons subjects initially disliked a fabric were specific and included attributes of scratchy, rough, and itchy. Fabric combinations that often pleased included soft with warm and smooth with warm. When subjects reported initially liking or disliking a fabric the shift in preference often occurred because of a change in repeated exposure, focus on some features, discovery of new features or new associated experiences. Touch preference shifts were affected by how the fabric would feel on the body, contextual surroundings, and experiences with family. Such an investigation of tactile response and touch preference helps a designer to think about how to optimize user satisfaction with textile products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
JournalTextile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Change
  • Fabrics
  • Preferences
  • Tactile attributes
  • User satisfaction


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