lovely diacritic?

Being Leftout Leaves You Feeling Cold, Literally
17 September, 2008, 11:07 am
Filed under: Psychology, Science | Tags:

In one experiment, they asked 65 students to do a series of tasks, the first of which was to recall a situation in which they had felt either left out or like one of the gang. At the end of the tasks, the students were asked, ever so nonchalantly, about the current room temperature. Being undergraduates, they perhaps didn’t grasp the significance of the question. The paper states: “As a cover story, the experimenter explained that this information was requested by the lab maintenance staff. None of the participants indicated they had any suspicion.” (This is not inherently funny, I understand, but still, … it cracks me up.)


In the second experiment, involving 52 students, the researchers actually created an atmosphere of social exclusion — easier in some settings than others — via a virtual ball-tossing exercise. Alas, some game players were deliberately made to feel shunned by the computer, watching the ball go more often to players other than themselves. At the end of the experiment, those snubbed by the computer were more likely to prefer warm food and drinks than were their apparently more ball-worthy counterparts.


The researchers surmise:

“An interesting direction would be to determine whether experiencing the warmth of an object could reduce the negative experience of social exclusion. Such an implication has been used metaphorically in the self-help literature (i.e. the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series), but our research suggests that eating warm soup may be a literal coping mechanism for social exclusion.”


They go on to theorize that ambient temperature may actually affect people’s interpretations of social situations — and that seasonal affective disorder may stem, at least in part, from the perception of coldness.


Reference: Tami Dennis – “The office isn’t cold, just your coworkers”


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