Link found between physical and emotional warmth

By | October 25, 2008

http://xenophilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/towel-spa-bathroom-towel-warmer-1-2.jpgLooking to improve your romantic odds? Get your date a steaming cup of coffee.

That’s the implication of a new study by researchers who wanted to see if there was any connection between physical and emotional heat.  To their surprise, they found that people who held a cup of hot coffee for 10 to 25 seconds warmed to a perfect stranger. Holding a cup of iced coffee had the opposite effect. If you want to make a good impression, advised study author Lawrence E. Williams, a University of Colorado at Boulder assistant professor of marketing, a fresh cup of coffee “may bias the situation in your favor.”

The study, to be published today in the journal Science, is the latest to show how physical properties such as distance or temperature can unconsciously influence emotional reactions. In a previous experiment, for example, people who were asked to plot remote points on a graph expressed distant feelings about relatives afterward.  “Our mental processes are not separate and detached from the body,” said John A. Bargh, a Yale University psychologist and co-author of the current study. The findings raise the potential for manipulation beyond matters of the heart. Williams said it was not hard to envision marketers using warm cookies to make connections with customers — and prime them to buy.
By the same token, Bargh said, shoppers who want to resist pushy salespeople could improve their chances by carrying an icy can of soda in a pocket. But when it comes to personal relationships, researchers said, a hot beverage can’t always overcome awkward habits and distasteful traits. – latimes

A trick I learned from my romantic ex is to warm up a towel in the dryer for someone so they stay toasty when getting out of the shower on a cold winter’s day. Now we know why that works so well.

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