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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May 27, 2014