The hug, specifically, has been repeatedly linked to good health. In a study that made headlines about hugs helping the immune system, researchers led by the psychologist Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University isolated 400 people in a hotel and exposed them to a cold virus. People who had supportive social interactions had fewer and less severe symptoms. Physical touch, (specifically hugging), seemed to account for about a third of that effect. The researchers conclude: 'These data suggest that hugging may act as an effective means of conveying support'.