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Friday, 23 October 2009

An argument for warmer rooms?

BPS Research Digest writes:
Last year, the psychologists Lawrence Williams and John Bargh gave participants a cup of coffee to hold and showed that the temperature of the coffee affected the way those participants rated a stranger's character. A hot coffee led them to rate him as more good natured and generous, whilst holding an iced coffee had the opposite effect.
The finding was touted as an example of embodied cognition - the idea that the way we think about the world is grounded in, and affected by, physical metaphors.
Now Hans Ijzerman and Gun Semin have built on this work, showing not only that the ambient temperature of a room affects how socially close people feel to another, but also the type of language they use and the way they see relations between shapes.
Fifty-two participants were shown an animated film featuring chess pieces. Crucially, half the participants were seated in a cool room (15 to 18 degrees Celsius) whereas the others sat in a warm room (22 to 24 degrees Celsius). Afterwards participants in the warm room used more concrete, physical language to describe the film and reported feeling socially closer to the experimenter than did the participants in a cold room.
Full article:

Do you have an opinion about this? Do you feel differently in a warmer room?
What are your personal preferences and experiences?
How would it affect our practice and our workplace?
Please share your thoughts...


  1. It is definetely true for me! In a cold room I am depressed and miserable! And hate the whole world. So - my positive attidude costs me an arm and a leg in fuel bills! :-)

  2. To Jane Gallagher:

    Join the Club... I am SO dependant on the room temperature!
    But - on a serious not - it is something to take into account when planning therapy sessions - especially for group work as people's attitudes toward each other are so important in group work.
    Thank you!


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