10-second life coach: Loneliness really does make you feel cols

10-second life coach: Loneliness really does make you feel cold

|

UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 14 October 2012

From an early age we associate the feeling of warmth with safety and security (hugs and open fires), and coldness with unfriendliness (getting the cold shoulder or an icy stare).

Inspired by this notion, psychologist Chen-Bo Zhong from Northwestern University in the U.S. set out to discover whether being excluded really does make people feel chilly.

Enlarge

10-second life coach: Loneliness really does make you feel cold

10-second life coach: Loneliness really does make you feel cold

In one experiment, Zhong asked half of a group of people to think about a time when they had felt rejected, and the other half to remember when they had been accepted as part of a group.

Everyone was then asked to estimate the temperature of the room they were in.

Remarkably, those who thought about being alone rated the room as significantly colder than those who had imagined themselves in a group. It seems that loneliness does, indeed, make people feel cold.

University of Colorado psychologist Lawrence Williams conducted another experiment in which participants were handed a hot cup of coffee or a cold drink, and then asked to rate a stranger’s personality. Those with the hot coffee thought the stranger seemed much friendlier than those clutching the iced drink.

The implications are obvious – if you are trying to make friends, skip chilled cocktails in an air-conditioned bar and instead opt for a steaming mug of tea in front of a roaring fire.

■ Rip It Up by Richard Wiseman is published by Pan Macmillan at 12.99. To order a copy for 10.99, call 0843 382 0000 or visit mailshop.co.uk/books