Ever been to a party, or been at work or some kind of function and you get the cold shoulder from someone, or a group?
It turns out that this kind of reception can make you feel that the temperature is 5 degrees fahrenheit colder than it actually is, as well as craving a hot drink!
Our psychological response to being isolated or excluded can immediately impact how we physically feel.
A study that's in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science, is "the latest finding from the field of embodied cognition, in which researchers have shown that the language of metaphor can activate physical sensations, and vice versa.
Just as spreading a bad rumor can make people feel literally dirty, so did research subjects who felt socially excluded perceive a significantly lower room temperature than those who felt included.
“We know that being excluded is psychologically painful,” said the lead author, Chen-Bo Zhong, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, “and here we found that it feels just like it’s described in metaphors,” like icy stare and frosty reception.
John Bargh, a psychologist at Yale who was not involved in the research, said the finding made “perfect sense.” In an e-mail message, he noted that a brain region called the insula tracks both body temperature and general psychological states, and it may be here where social perceptions and sensations of warmth or coldness are fused.
In the new paper, Dr. Zhong and Geoffrey J. Leonardelli, also a psychologist at Toronto, describe two experiments.
In one, they split 65 students into two groups, instructing those in one to recall a time when they felt socially rejected, and those in the other to summon a memory of social acceptance.
Many of the students were recent immigrants and had fresh memories of being isolated in the dorms, left behind while roommates went out, Dr. Zhong said.
The researchers then had each of the participants estimate the temperature in the lab room. The students who had recalled being excluded estimated the temperature to be, on average, 5 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the others.
In the second experiment, the researchers had 52 students come into the lab and play a computer game, one at a time. The students “threw” a ball back and forth with three other figures on the computer screen that — so the participants thought — represented other students playing from remote locations.
In fact a computer program was running the game, and it excluded half the study participants, throwing them the virtual ball a couple of times in the beginning, then ignoring them altogether. The other group of students in the study were included in the virtual game of catch.
After playing the game, the participants in this study then rated their preferences for a variety of foods and drinks, including hot soup, coffee, an apple and crackers. Those who had been isolated in the computer game showed a strong preference for the soup and coffee over the other items; the included students had no such preference."
I'm trying to think of a time I encountered a cold reception in some setting, but even thinking about the prospect makes me feel like making hot tea. Maybe it's because I tend to find hot foods and drinks more comforting...
And maybe I ought to really wonder why my friends race for a steaming cup of Cocoa when I drop by to visit (!)
How do you cope in rather uncomfortable or frosty situations? Have you ever noticed you literally felt cold or wanted something hot to eat or drink?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.