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Science. 2008 Oct 24;322(5901):606-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1162548.

Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth.

Author information

  • 1Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder, UCB 419, Boulder, CO, 80309-0419, USA. lawrence.williams@colorado.edu

Abstract

"Warmth" is the most powerful personality trait in social judgment, and attachment theorists have stressed the importance of warm physical contact with caregivers during infancy for healthy relationships in adulthood. Intriguingly, recent research in humans points to the involvement of the insula in the processing of both physical temperature and interpersonal warmth (trust) information. Accordingly, we hypothesized that experiences of physical warmth (or coldness) would increase feelings of interpersonal warmth (or coldness), without the person's awareness of this influence. In study 1, participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged a target person as having a "warmer" personality (generous, caring); in study 2, participants holding a hot (versus cold) therapeutic pad were more likely to choose a gift for a friend instead of for themselves.

PMID:
18948544
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2737341
Free PMC Article
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