Caring for sharing: How attachment styles modulate communal cues of physical warmth

Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.89). 09/2012; DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000142

ABSTRACT Does physical warmth lead to caring and sharing? Research suggests that it does; physically warm versus cold conditions induce pro-social behaviors and cognitions. Importantly, earlier research has not traced the developmental origins of the association between physical warmth and affection. The association between physical warmth and sharing may be captured in specific cognitive models of close social relations, often referred to as attachment styles. In line with this notion and using a dictator game set-up, the current study demonstrates that children who relate to their friends in the manner of a secure attachment style are more generous toward their peers in warm as compared to cold conditions. This effect was absent for children who relate to friends in the manner of an insecure attachment style, but, notably, these children not just always shared less: They allocated more stickers to a friend than to a stranger. These findings provide an important first step to understand how fundamental embodied relations develop early in life. We discuss broader implications for grounded cognition and person perception.

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    ABSTRACT: Being ostracized or excluded, even briefly and by strangers, is painful and threatens fundamental needs. Recent work by Zhong and Leonardelli (2008) found that excluded individuals perceive the room as cooler and that they desire warmer drinks. A perspective that many rely on in embodiment is the theoretical idea that people use metaphorical associations to understand social exclusion (see Landau, Meier, & Keefer, 2010). We suggest that people feel colder because they are colder. The results strongly support the idea that more complex metaphorical understandings of social relations are scaffolded onto literal changes in bodily temperature: Being excluded in an online ball tossing game leads to lower finger temperatures (Study 1), while the negative affect typically experienced after such social exclusion is alleviated after holding a cup of warm tea (Study 2). The authors discuss further implications for the interaction between body and social relations specifically, and for basic and cognitive systems in general.
    Acta psychologica 06/2012; 140(3):283-8. · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research in the cognitive and social psychological science has revealed the pervading relation between body and mind. Physical warmth leads people to perceive others as psychological closer to them and to be more generous towards others. More recently, physical warmth has also been implicated in the processing of information, specifically through perceiving relationships (via physical warmth) and the distancing from others (via coldness). In addition, social psychological work has linked social cues (such as mimicry and power cues) to creative performance. The present work integrates these two literatures, by providing an embodied model of creative performance through relational (warm = relational) and referential (cold = distant) processing. The authors predict and find that warmth cues lead to greater creativity when 1) creating drawings, 2) categorizing objects, and 3) coming up with gifts for others. In contrast, cold cues lead to greater creativity, when 1) breaking set in a metaphor recognition task, 2) coming up with new pasta names, and 3) being abstract in coming up with gifts. Effects are found across different populations and age groups. The authors report implications for theory and discuss limitations of the present work.
    Acta psychologica 03/2013; 148. · 2.19 Impact Factor


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May 27, 2014