Beware of salesmen who offer you a warm drink

Author: By Steve Connor

Scientists tested the idea by giving volunteers either hot or cold drinks to hold before interviewing them about their feelings. The volunteers consistently displayed warmer emotions after holding the hot drink.

The researchers then went on to study the effects of warm and cold objects and found similar results, indicating that it was not the drink as such but the physical temperature of the object being held.

“It appears that the effect of physical temperature is not just on how we see others, it affects our own behaviour as well. Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also causes us to be warmer, more generous and trusting as well,” said John Bargh, professor of psychology at Yale University.

Volunteers in the study, published in the journal Science, did not know why they were given a hot or cold drink to hold ? they were simply asked to do it ? and so the findings indicate that there is a deep psychological reason why physical temperature is linked to emotional feelings.

The findings suggest that warm drinks or snacks could make someone more trusting of others, which could be exploited by companies keen on using new ways of marketing products to sceptical customers, said Lawrence Williams of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who took part in the study.

“Paying attention to the fact that customers are tied to the physical world in which buying behaviour occurs is important. If you are running a promotion outdoors on a cold day, maybe giving away a warm cookie will help you make connections with consumers. It gives marketers and managers more tools to work with,” Professor Williams said.

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