Cold Shoulder Actually Causes Chill


Icy actions make intended recipient's body heat drop.

Just as the premise of this story elicits a double take, apparently perceiving "cold" behavior in others can cause one to actually feel cold.

Psychologists at the University of Toronto revealed their findings based on two experiments. The first involved dividing 65 students into two groups. Researchers asked one group to recall an instance of social acceptance, and the other was asked to recall an instance of social rejection. Then, the subjects were asked to guess the temperature of the lab room. Those who had recalled a memory involving social rejection estimated the temp was an average 5 degrees lower than the group recalling social acceptance!

The second experiment involved 52 students playing a supposed computer game of virtual ball toss with other students. One group played the game regularly; the other group used a version programmed to ignore their virtual players. When the game ended, participants rated their preference for certain types of food and drink. Those whom the video game had ignored showed a strong preference for the hot items offered—such as soup and coffee—whereas the control group showed no cohesive preference.

The next time a tiff with your partner involves serving him up an icy, cold glare, a hot toddy might make for a better peace offering than a cold beer. Or, as one of the researchers told the Times, hot chocolate would be a better band-aid for a broken-heart than the traditional go-to ice cream.