I feel you! Effects of Temperature on Social-Cognitive Judgments
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- Resource type
Personality and Social Contexts
- Organisational unit
- Is part of
All CAS Faculty Scholarship
- Additional information
one-way between-subjects ANOVA
self perception, other perception, content analysis
Social interactions “run” on the judgments we make about others. What causes us to judge as we do? In the current research we examine this process through an embodiment lens, building on past research. Dolcos and colleagues (2012) examined how body language (inviting a handshake) and physical proximity (approach v. avoid) influence social-cognition. Key findings: a hand-shake enhances perceptions of trustworthiness regardless of apparent approach/avoid signals. IJzerman & Semin (2009) examined how ambient temperature ratings influence social-cognition. They report that being warm (holding a warm beverage), creates perceptions of “social” warmth. Together, this work suggests that social-cognitive-judgments reflect our inner-temperature ratings. Ijzerman & Semin discuss the fact that the rich metaphors that color our social-speech capture this relation.
Our contribution to this line of work is two-fold: we created a more ecologically valid ambient temperature manipulation and we extended the operationalization of social-cognition. Regarding the temperature manipulation, we found that taking participants’ pulse with a hot or cold hand was not effective, whereas asking participants to wear a hot or cold jacket was quite effective.
In two one-way, between subjects studies (n = 60), participants either wore a warm jacket, a cold jacket, or no jacket. In study 1, they rated the friendliness of a stranger and selected 3 words to describe her; in study 2 two they rated the their own “friendliness” and selected 3 words to describe themselves. Whereas friendliness ratings did not change as a function of ambient temperature, the quality of the 3-word descriptions did.