Cold and Lonely: Does Social Exclusion Literally Feel Cold?

I come across this interesting article. Here the Psychologists (Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey Leonardelli from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management) arrive on the conclusion that social isolation really make you feel that room is colder than actually it is!

They divided a group of volunteers into two. One group is asked to recall the experience when they were expelled from certain group or club. Another group was told to evoke experiences when they have gained a membership of certain club or group. Later on they were asked to guess the room temperature on the pretense that the building’s maintenance staff wanted that information. And the findings were really surprising.

Those who were told to think about a socially isolating experience gave lower estimates of the temperature. In other words, the recalled memories of being ostracized actually made people experience the ambient temperature as colder.

In another experiment, instead of relying on volunteers’ memories, the researchers triggered feelings of exclusion by having the volunteers play a computer-simulated ball tossing game. The game was designed so that some of the volunteers had the ball tossed to them many times, but others were left out.” Afterwards, all the volunteers rated the desirability of certain foods and beverages: hot coffee, crackers, an ice-cold Coke, an apple, and hot soup. (source:Science Daily)

Read about the findings 🙂

“It’s striking that people preferred hot coffee and soup more when socially excluded,” Leonardelli said. “Our research suggests that warm chicken soup may be a literal coping mechanism for social isolation.”

Can we take this metaphor literally and not descriptively? Watch your behavior next time, when you go out alone. 🙂