The Loh Down On Science

Cold Folks

Social isolation really IS a cold shoulder.

Chilly reception? Cold shoulder? Frosty glare?
This is Sandra Loh with the Loh Down on Science saying, those might be more than metaphors.

When someone is described as "cold," we assume they're unfriendly. But are they actually COLD?

University of Toronto psychologists Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey Leonardelli wanted to know. Does social isolation actually FEEL cold?

They divided volunteers into two groups. One was told to remember a time they felt rejected and shut out. The other focused on a moment of ACCEPTANCE.

The subjects were then asked to guess the temperature in the room. Subjects feeling like outcasts said the room was five degrees COLDER than the warm-n-fuzzy group.

In a similar experiment, the subjects played a computer-simulated ball tossing game.

The game was rigged in advance, so some players never got the ball.

Afterwards, they were more likely to want something hot, like coffee or soup, than active players. Presumably, they actually felt cold because they'd been left on the sidelines.

Maybe that chicken soup for the soul guy was right--at least about the soup. Hot soup. That part is scientific. Ish.


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