Asher Guest Blogs: Warming up the “cold shoulder”

This Guest Blog Post is from Asher King Abramson, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:
Who knew the metaphor was true? According to this social interaction research from the Netherlands, when people feel lonely or excluded, the physical temperature of their skin actually drops! One reason for this is a protective immune response called vasoconstriction, in which blood vessels at the periphery of your body (think fingers and toes) narrow to conserve core body heat. It’s not just physiological, either: If someone is feeling lonely, they’ll also perceive the room to feel colder than it actually is.
So how can you fix this? Hold something warm. People who felt lonely and then held warm objects (like a cup of coffee) felt more welcomed and less excluded. Even more interesting is that people actually behave more socially after touching something warm.