T.K. Inagaki and L.J. Human, ‘Physical and Social Warmth: Warmer Daily Body Temperature Is Associated with Greater Feelings of Social Connection’, Emotion (2019), advance online publication, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000618.
I have this idea that over the summer I will find more time and energy for this blog, and that’s a nice idea. In the meantime I cannot let this interesting essay pass by without comment. I was alerted to it by the Twitter feed of my colleague Simone Schnall, who is a wise observer of the fortunes of embodied cognition. I said just before Christmas that doubt had been shed on one of the more eye-catching findings in the field. Attempts to replicate experiments showing that bodily warmth led to greater social affection were not going well; you can find my post here.
Inagaki and Human found that changes in body temperature correlated with feelings of ‘social connection’: warmer, more connected, cooler, less. Of course the classic and possibly fragile ‘holding a warm drink in your hand makes you like people more’ finding by Williams and Bargh is not the only bit of the jigsaw. As I said in my earlier post, I very much relish the way that this idea is both entirely intuitive (yes, warmth, the word bridges these things) and counter-intuitive (can I really be as simple as that?). I’m glad to see it flourishing again.