Entries in warmth (6)


Why Do We Watch Romantic Movies During Winter Storms?

If you are currently in the Northeast United States, you are probably still dealing with the aftereffects of Jonas, our most recent (and for many of us) first snowstorm of the winter. While some of us braved the weather to walk our dogs, dig out our cars, or make an emergency trip to the store to pick up the milk we forgot to buy in the days leading up to the storm, the rest of us probably stayed warm indoors and watched TV. After texting my friends to discuss their snowpocalypse plans, I found out that many, like me, were watching movies. Specifically romantic movies. Was this all just a pre-Valentine’s Day coincidence? The answer to this question may be found by considering research on embodied cognition.

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Feeling Cold? How About a Romance Movie?

Feeling cold increases people’s liking and willingness to pay for romance movies but not other movie genres (i.e., action, comedy, thriller). Researchers thought this was because physical coldness activates a need for psychological warmth, a feeling often associated with romance movies. Indeed, the more individuals associated romance movies in general with psychological warmth, the more they reported liking romance movies – but only when they felt cold. So if you’re going to watch a romance movie this Valentine’s Day, be sure to turn down the heat for a heartwarming experience. 

Hong, J., & Sun, Y. (2012). Warm it up with love: The effect of physical coldness on liking of romance movies. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(2), 293-306. doi:10.1086/662613


The Perfect Valentine‚Äôs Day Date: Keep it Warm and Heavy

There is a lot of pressure to impress your romantic partner with a fabulous Valentine’s Day date (I should know – Valentine’s Day is also my wife’s birthday!). If you decide to go to a fancy restaurant, how do you know which cuisine to choose? Should you go with spicy Thai or cold sushi? If you’re going to buy your partner a gift, do you choose something practical and imminently useful but unromantic (the Science of Relationships book?) or should you instead go with something useless but romantic (a stuffed teddy bear holding a satin pillow shaped like a heart with “Valentine’s Without You Would be Un-Bear-able” written on it?). Or, if you’re going to get your sweetie something, well, sweet, should you choose the heart-shaped box of chocolates that is the candy equivalent of Russian Roulette or should you buy some specialty hot cocoa?

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Body and Mind: How Seemingly Unrelated Physical Experiences Affect Our Relationships

What if I told you that simply holding a cup of hot coffee leads you to perceive others more positively?  Seems like crazy talk, right? Well, it may not be so crazy after all.

Embodied cognition (also called embodiment) is an emerging research area in psychology. Embodiment is the theory that there is a strong association between physical experiences and psychological states.

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Feel the Warmth: Attachment Anxiety and Temperature

Relationships with others are often described in terms of temperature. We can have “hot” romances, “warm” friendships, and encounters with strangers that feel “cold”, and give others the cold shoulder. To the extent that interpersonal feelings coincide with a sense of temperature, an individual with greater sensitivity to relationship dynamics may also have greater sensitivity to physical temperatures. In other words, those who pay more attention to how others express warmth may be attentive to warmth in general, including actual physical warmth.

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How to "Warm" Things Up on Your Next Date

If you want to be perceived as warm and friendly on your next date, bring your date a hot cup of coffee or encourage him or her to order the soup. Researchers have found that physical warmth can influence our perceptions of another person’s psychological warmth.

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