Jon K. Maner's research while affiliated with Florida State University and other places

Publications (173)

Article
Interpersonal power involves how much actors can influence partners (actor power) and how much partners can influence actors (partner power). Yet, most theories and investigations of power conflate the effects of actor and partner power, creating a fundamental ambiguity in the literature regarding how power shapes social behavior. We demonstrate th...
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Although evidence documents the use of prestige and dominance for navigating group hierarchies, little is known about factors that explain people's orientation toward prestige versus dominance. The current research applied a life history perspective to assess the role life history strategies play in prestige and dominance. Four studies document ass...
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Throughout human evolutionary history, women have faced significant adaptive challenges during pregnancy. Natural selection may therefore have favored psychological mechanisms to help women prepare for birth and motherhood. Previous researchers have conceptualized such mechanisms as comprising a form of “nesting,” consisting of selectivity in one's...
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Guided by principles from life-history theory, theories of adaptive calibration provide an overarching theoretical framework for understanding the developmental roots of impulsivity and externalizing psychopathology. The current research provides evidence for robust associations between perceptions of childhood unpredictability, delay discounting (...
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The dual-strategies theory of social rank proposes that both dominance and prestige are effective strategies for gaining social rank (i.e., the capacity for influence) in groups. However, the only existing longitudinal investigation of these strategies suggests that, among undergraduate students, only prestige allows people to maintain social rank...
Article
How do people respond when their group’s power is threatened? Four studies suggest that threats to group power lead people to adhere to and invest in their group. When a personally important group’s power was threatened, people psychologically adhered to the group (Studies 1a and 1b). This adherence occurred among people who were high (but not low)...
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Research in evolutionary psychology has identified two general strategies – dominance and prestige - used to attain influence and high social rank within groups. Whereas dominance is defined by the use of force to gain social rank, prestige is defined by the display of valued skills and abilities. Although studies have provided insight into the per...
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Sexual selection in human evolution is well-established. Females are relatively more inclined than males to prefer mates that exhibit physical and social dominance (e.g., muscular, financially successful men); whereas males are relatively more inclined than females to seek mates displaying signs of high reproductive potential (e.g., young, attracti...
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Objective The aim of this study was to describe people’s day-to-day experiences with weight-based discrimination and to distill themes that shed new light on this phenomenon. Design A qualitative study was conducted in 2019 using a purposive sampling strategy. A racially and ethnically diverse sample of 32 U.S. adult men and women with a body mass...
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Two studies examine psychological and demographic factors that predict attitudes toward mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These studies differentiate pro-mask from anti-mask attitudes. Political conservatism, younger age, and gender predicted anti-mask attitudes but were unrelated to pro-mask attitudes. Psychological reactance was associat...
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Some group leaders exhibit hypervigilance to signs of social disapproval and that vigilance manifests at basic levels of social information processing such as visual attention and face perception. The current research tests hypotheses about when, why, and in whom such vigilance occurs. Across two pilot studies and five experiments (N=1,667) we find...
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Pathogen avoidance is an important motive underlying human behavior and is associated with numerous psychological processes—including biases against social groups heuristically associated with illness. Although there are reliable measurement scales to assess chronic dispositional levels of pathogen avoidance, no measurement scale currently exists t...
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Relative to other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, Hispanic American (HA) youth have higher rates of overweight and obesity. Previous work suggests that low perceived social status (SS) promotes excess caloric intake and, thereby, development of obesity. Psychological resilience may play a role in reducing adverse eating behaviors and ris...
Article
This research uses the Health and Retirement Study to identify psychological and social factors that prospectively predict new reports of perceived weight discrimination among individuals who measure in the obese weight category. Participants (Mage=66.89, SD=8.33; 58% women) reported on their personality and social isolation, had a body mass index...
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Childhood unpredictability and harshness are associated with patterns of psychology and behavior that enable individuals to make the most of adverse environments. The current research assessed effects of childhood unpredictability and harshness on individual differences in sacrificial moral decision making. Six studies (N=1,503) supported the hypot...
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Objective Weight discrimination is associated with numerous negative health consequences. Little is known about early‐stage psychological mechanisms that explain variability in responses to weight discrimination among people with obesity. This study tested the hypothesis that attributing negative social evaluation to one's weight would be associate...
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Laboratory studies have linked variability in temperature to the psychology of social affiliation. In colder ambient environments, for example, people report greater loneliness, and they pursue both physical warmth and social affiliation (i.e., social warmth). Here, a field experiment tested whether tactile warmth eliminates the effect of colder am...
Article
The ratio of men to women in a given ecology can have profound influences on a range of interpersonal processes, from marriage and divorce rates to risk-taking and violent crime. Here, we organize such processes into two categories - intersexual choice and intrasexual competition - representing focal effects of imbalanced sex ratios.
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Objective Here, we provide an experimental test of the relationship between levels of proinflammatory cytokines and present-focused decision-making. Methods We examined whether increases in salivary levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and interleukin-6) engendered by visually priming immunologically-relevant threats (pathogen threa...
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Power (reflecting control over resources and the capacity to influence others through reward and punishment) and status (reflecting the capacity to influence others through respect and admiration) both represent central aspects of social hierarchy and both exert important influences on social judgment. This article reviews recent evidence regarding...
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Leaders often are faced with making difficult decisions for their group, such as when a course of action preferred by group members conflicts with one that is likely to optimize group success. Across five experiments (N=1110), we provide evidence that a psychological orientation toward prestige (but not dominance) causes leaders to adhere publicly...
Article
In response to the persistent threat of illness, a coordinated set of psychological mechanisms evolved to protect people (and other organisms) against possible exposure to pathogens. Some research suggests that pathogen avoidance is associated with morality, specifically a greater emphasis on moral values that bind groups together and prioritize un...
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Here, we present a mechanistically grounded theory detailing a novel function of the behavioral immune system (BIS), the psychological system that prompts pathogen avoidance behaviors. We propose that BIS activity allows the body to downregulate basal inflammation, preventing resultant oxidative damage to DNA and promoting longevity. Study 1 invest...
Article
The current experiments tested the hypothesis that situational pathogen cues would increase mate preferences for facial symmetry—a characteristic thought to signal immunocompetence. Across 2 experiments, participants were primed with situational disease cues and were asked to select the more desirable of 2 virtually identical faces or nonsocial sti...
Article
Experiencing the tactile sensation of warmth can affect cognition and behavior across a variety of domains, including affiliation, aggression, and consumer choice. Yet few investigations have provided a theoretical rationale for when and why such effects occur. Five experiments tested the hypothesis that the tactile experience of warmth can satisfy...
Article
When attempting to resolve relationship problems, individuals in close relationships sometimes challenge their partners with statements that oppose their partner's point of view. Such oppositional behaviors may undermine those partners' relational value and threaten their status within the relationship. We examined whether perceptions of opposition...
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Animal models and a few human investigations suggest progesterone may be associated with anxiety. Progesterone naturally fluctuates across the menstrual cycle, offering an opportunity to understand how within-person increases in progesterone and average progesterone levels across the cycle correspond to women's anxiety. Across two longitudinal stud...
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Researchers have suggested that women compete with same-sex peers using indirect social tactics. However, the specific predictors and mechanisms of this form of female intrasexual competition are less well understood. We propose that one mechanism by which women harm rivals’ social opportunities is through selectively transmitting reputation-releva...
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Two longitudinal studies of 233 newlywed couples suggest that automatic attentional and evaluative biases regarding attractive relationship alternatives can help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity. Both studies assessed participants’ tendency to automatically disengage attention from photos of attractive, opposite sex individuals;...
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Dominance and prestige represent evolved strategies used to navigate social hierarchies. Dominance is a strategy through which people gain and maintain social rank by using coercion, intimidation, and power. Prestige is a strategy through which people gain and maintain social rank by displaying valued knowledge and skills and earning respect. The c...
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The association between low socioeconomic status (SES) and obesity is well documented. In the current research, a life history theory (LHT) framework provided an explanation for this association. Derived from evolutionary behavioral science, LHT emphasizes how variability in exposure to unpredictability during childhood gives rise to individual dif...
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Maximising your organisation's effectiveness requires leaders who tailor their leadership approach based on the organisational culture, their team's dynamics, and the specific task at hand. This article describes two distinct leadership approaches – dominance and prestige – each with their own advantages and drawbacks. To help your organisation rea...
Article
We extend Nettle et al.’s insurance hypothesis (IH) argument, drawing upon life-history theory (LHT), a developmental evolutionary perspective that documents downstream consequences of early-life exposure to unpredictable environments. We discuss novel evidence consistent with both IH and LHT, suggesting that early-life exposure to unpredictable en...
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Research corroborates the notion that fundamental social motives play an important role in biases that favor attractive people. Although an adaptationist framework expects favorable social effects of good looks in most situations and contexts, it simultaneously allows for potential negative social reactions and outcomes that may be elicited by phys...
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People’s physical position relative to others may shape how those others perceive them. The research described here suggests that people use relative physical position to manage impressions by strategically positioning themselves either higher or lower relative to ostensible observers. Five studies supported the prediction that women take and displ...
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Male jealousy is an adaptive interpersonal process that functions to maintain relationships by reducing the likelihood of partner sexual infidelity. Ancestral men would have been most reproductively successful to the extent that they responded to signs of low partner commitment with increased jealousy and mate guarding. The current research showed...
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In heterosexual individuals, attention is automatically captured by physically attractive members of the opposite sex. Although helpful for selecting new mates, attention to attractive relationship alternatives can threaten satisfaction with and commitment to an existing romantic relationship. The current study tested the hypothesis that although a...
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How do women respond to being valued for sex by their partners? Although research supporting objectification theory suggests that women's reactions to sexual valuation are primarily negative, a separate body of research indicates that women expend significant effort to enhance their sexual appeal. Evolutionary perspectives suggest that whether wome...
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Research with European Caucasian samples demonstrates that attractiveness-based biases in social evaluation depend on the constellation of the sex of the evaluator and the sex of the target: Whereas people generally show positive biases toward attractive opposite-sex persons, they show less positive or even negative biases toward attractive same-se...
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When faced with risky decisions, people typically choose to diversify their choices by allocating resources across a variety of options and thus avoid putting "all their eggs in one basket." The current research revealed that this tendency is reversed when people face an important cue to mating-related risk: skew in the operational sex ratio, or th...
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The presence of hierarchy is a ubiquitous feature of human social groups. An evolutionary perspective provides novel insight into the nature of hierarchy, including its causes and consequences. When integrated with theory and data from social psychology, an evolutionary approach provides a conceptual framework for understanding the strategies that...
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The color red has special meaning in mating-relevant contexts. Wearing red can enhance perceptions of women's attractiveness and desirability as a potential romantic partner. Building on recent findings, the present study examined whether women's (N = 74) choice to display the color red is influenced by the attractiveness of an expected opposite-se...
Data
Women’s display of red as a function of the male experimenter’s attractiveness. (PDF)
Data
Red display of women in the unattractive and attractive experimenter condition. (PDF)
Article
Field research has the potential to substantially increase both the replicability and the impact of psychological science. Field methods sometimes are characterized by features – relatively high levels of participant diversity, relative lack of control over extraneous variables, greater focus on behavioral dependent variables, less room for researc...
Chapter
Evolutionary psychology provides a powerful meta-theoretical perspective useful for understanding motivated social processes in humans and other species. People possess fundamental motivational systems designed to navigate many of the challenges regularly faced by human ancestors. Combining an evolutionary perspective with theories and methods from...
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The literature on sexual selection and the social brain hypothesis suggest that human cognition and communication evolved, in part, for the purpose of displaying desirable cognitive abilities to potential mates. An evolutionary approach to social cognition implies that proximate mating motives may lead people to display desirable mental traits. In...
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Social psychology holds a central place in human evolution. Much of human behavior is organized around a relatively small set of fundamental motives, each linked to a major adaptive challenge posed by ancestral environments. This chapter organizes research and theory in evolutionary social psychology around seven key motivational domains of social...
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The operational sex ratio-the ratio of men to women in a given population-affects a range of social processes. The current research demonstrates that biased sex ratios (greater numbers of one sex than the other) influence fundamental aspects of people's mating strategy. When the sex ratio was favorable (one's own sex was in the minority), both sexe...
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Social psychological findings and methods can provide valuable tools for evolutionary theorists. Social psychologists have developed useful methods for understanding ongoing motivational and cognitive processes, as well as useful ways of thinking about and studying organism environment interactions. Social and cognitive psychologists have focused p...
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Although it is well known that many people possess fundamental desires for both social affiliation and power, research has only begun to investigate the interplay between these two core social motives. The current research tested the hypothesis that an individual's level of power would influence that person's level of social affiliative motivation....
Article
Previous research shows that powerful people are more likely than those lacking power to engage in infidelity. One possible explanation holds (a) that power psychologically releases people from the inhibiting effects of social norms and thus increases their appetite for counternormative forms of sexuality. Two alternative explanations are (b) that...
Article
From an evolutionary perspective, no set of challenges is as central to human life as those involved in mating. In facing these challenges, people recruit an array of adaptive psychological processes designed to help them identify desirable mates, assess whether potential mates are romantically accessible, and avoid potential threats to the mainten...
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The current study examined associations between cyclic variation in hormone levels and perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness - two determinants of suicidal ideation. Nineteen participants who experienced suicidal ideation and had normal menstrual cycles were selected out of 1482 college students and completed a series of on-line quest...
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Throughout human evolutionary history, members of unfamiliar out-groups are likely to have posed significant disease threats. The current studies assessed whether concerns about disease would bias people toward categorizing social targets as members of an unfamiliar out-group. Using a minimal group paradigm, 2 experiments assessed the extent to whi...
Chapter
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Leaders play a critical role in helping their groups achieve important goals. Sometimes, however, leaders are more interested in their own personal capacity for power than they are in helping their groups succeed. This chapter describes recent evolutionary theories and research aimed at elucidating the situational and motivational factors that infl...
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Cohesion, cooperation, and the formation of positive bonds among group members are key processes that facilitate effective group functioning. Consequently, group leaders usually work to enhance the positive social bonds among group members to facilitate cooperation and group cohesion. The present research suggests, however, that leaders sometimes a...
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Throughout history, men have tended to be more violent than women. Evolutionary theories suggest that this sex difference derives in part from their historically greater need to compete with other men over access to potential mates. In the current research, men and women (Experiment 1) or men only (Experiments 2 and 3) underwent a mating motive pri...
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The human grief response has perplexed researchers. Grief is costly, leading to painful and potentially deleterious symptoms. Yet, it is a human universal. We argue that grief functions as a hard-to-fake signal of underlying capacities to form strong social bonds. If so, those who grieve more intensively than others should be perceived as higher qu...
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Recent research demonstrates fundamental links between low-level bodily states and higher order psychological processes. How those links interact with the surrounding social context, however, is not well-understood. Findings from two experiments indicate that the psychological link between physical warmth and social affiliation depends on the situa...
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Humans evolved to possess psychological mechanisms that help them avoid coming into contact with infectious diseases. Those mechanisms promote vigilance to and avoidance of disease cues, including heuristic cues displayed by other people (e.g., old age, obesity). The current research demonstrated that hunger—a state that sensitizes people to the pr...
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Research finds that self-oriented perfectionism is a risk-factor for disordered eating. Failing to achieve extreme standards leads perfectionists to feel a lack of personal control. To regain a sense of control, some self-oriented perfectionists turn to dietary restriction. The present study used experimental methods to test the hypothesis that pow...
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The “biological clock” serves as a powerful metaphor that reflects the constraints posed by female reproductive biology. The biological clock refers to the progression of time from puberty to menopause, marking the period during which women can conceive children. Findings from two experiments suggest that priming the passage of time through the sou...
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A number of scholars recently have argued for fundamental changes in the way psychological scientists conduct and report research. The behavior of researchers is influenced partially by incentive structures built into the manuscript evaluation system, and change in researcher practices will necessitate a change in the way journal reviewers evaluate...
Poster
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Males take risks in order to assert dominance over same-sex rivals. However, if males can assert dominance in another arena, their need to take risks should diminish. Consistent with our predictions, winning a competition over a same-sex partner led males to become less risky.
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Grief is a puzzling phenomenon. It is often costly and prolonged, potentially increasing mortality rates, drug abuse, withdrawal from social life, and susceptibility to illness. These costs cannot be repaid by the deceased and therefore might appear wasted. In the following article, we propose a possible solution. Using the principles of social sel...
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The current article provides evidence that the psychological consequences of incidental haptic sensations depend on motivations within the perceiver and, consequently, the effects of those sensations are moderated by motivationally relevant aspects of the individual and the immediate social context. Results from two experiments demonstrate that the...
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Organizational decision-making research demonstrates an abundance of positive biases directed toward attractive individuals. However, recent research suggests that these favorable consequences of attractiveness do not hold when the person being evaluated is of the same sex as the evaluator. In the current study, participants evaluated prospective j...
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The current research sheds light on a physiological mechanism potentially underlying confrontational responses to infidelity. Findings suggest that responses to infidelity threats in adulthood are shaped by hormonally mediated masculinization of the brain in utero. 2D:4D digit ratio (widely regarded as an index of prenatal testosterone exposure) mo...
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The way people perceive others is fundamentally shaped by motives designed to help people navigate the challenges of everyday social life. Those motives can lead goal-relevant social stimuli to capture attention at early stages of information processing. The authors present data suggesting a link between perceptions of danger and selective attentio...
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Evolutionary theories of mating suggest that changes in fertility across the menstrual cycle play an important role in sexual selection. In line with this framework, the current research examined whether olfactory cues to the fertility of a same-sex rival would prompt hormonal signs of intrasexual competition in women. Women exposed to the scent of...
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Two studies tested the hypothesis that exposure to pornography among romantically committed individuals would increase the likelihood of intimate extradyadic behavior and that this effect would be mediated by heightened perceptions of romantic alternatives. Study 1 (n = 74) found that participants primed with sexually explicit material reported hav...
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Previous research indicates positive effects of a person's attractiveness on evaluations of opposite-sex persons, but less positive or even negative effects of attractiveness on same-sex evaluations. These biases are consistent with social motives linked to mate search and intrasexual rivalry. In line with the hypothesis that such motives should no...
Poster
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We examined whether the presence of a ticking clock would prime the metaphor of a biological clock and, in turn, speed up women’s attitudes towards their reproductive timing. We found that the ticking clock led women, particularly women from poorer childhood backgrounds, to desire having children at an earlier age.
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During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, women's bodies prepare themselves for possible pregnancy and this preparation includes a dramatic increase in progesterone. This increase in progesterone may underlie a variety of functionally relevant psychological changes designed to help women overcome challenges historically encountered during pre...
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http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2013/10/leadership-power.aspx
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Recent experiments in embodied social cognition suggest a fundamental link between physical warmth and social affiliation. Findings from two experiments support the hypothesis that physical warmth serves as a symbolic cue signaling the close proximity of a source of affiliation. In Experiment 1, participants perceived a warm object as being physica...