[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
You know that warm feeling you get when you spend time with someone you love? How about the one that comes from wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of coffee? They might be related. That’s what scientists at the University of Colorado and Yale University claim in the October 24th issue of the journal Science.
The researchers recruited 41 undergrad volunteers. Participants were handed a cup of either hot or iced coffee to hold, without being told it was part of the experiment. Then they were handed a description of an imaginary person, Person A, with a list of A’s personality traits. Afterwards, the undergrads described that person. Those who’d held the hot coffee rated Person A significantly warmer—friendlier, more generous—than those who held the ice coffee.
In a second study 53 volunteers held hot or cold therapeutic pads. Then they could choose a gift certificate for themselves or for a friend. Those who’d held the hot pads were more likely to be generous and give the gift certificate to friends. Researchers say this shows that physical and metaphorical warmth are linked. Which means it’s not a bad idea to order a hot drink on your next hot date.