New hand research says: ‘cold hands, warm heart’ is a myth – cold hands, act colder!

May 2, 2009

Cold hands, warm heart: the infrared thermography of a hand.

Recently some investigators from Yale University have found that the old saying: ‘Cold hands, warm heart’, is in practive not true at all! The researchers found in their study that when holding a hot cup of coffee people are inclined to make a ‘warmer’ judgement about other people (in terms of: generosity, kindness). The judgements of people who had a cup of ice-coffee in their hands were less ‘generous’ and less ‘kind’!

A likewise results was found in another situation where people were able to choose either a gift for a friend, or a reward for themselves – while holding warm or cold objects.

How come that people act more like: ‘cold hands, cold heart’? The US researchers pointed out that this typical ‘Pavlov response’ is likely related to our childhood, when people learn what the concept of ‘warmth’ means – often while being exposed to the closeness & physical warmth of the parents.

Professor John Bargh (psychologist) says:

“It appears that the effect of physical temperature is not just on how we see others, it affects our own behaviour as well. Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people,
but also cause us to be warmer – more generous and trusting – as well.”

Source: Cold hands, warm heart is a myth


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