Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not Cool

An interesting piece of research suggests that social isolation actually makes people "feel" cold. Check it out:

The cold shoulder is more than just a metaphor. A new study found that social isolation can actually make people feel cold.

Rearchers wanted to learn just how icy loneliness can get. So two University of Toronto psychologists, Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey Leonardelli, asked some subjects to remember a time when they felt socially excluded, such as being rejected from a club, while others recalled memories of being accepted into a group. Afterward, the researchers asked all the participants to estimate the temperature of the room, telling them this task was unrelated to the previous activity and that the building's maintenance staff simply wanted to know.

While estimates ranged from 54 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, in general, those who had been remembering emotionally chilly times also literally felt chillier, even though the room's temperature remained constant during the experiment. People who had recalled feeling ostracized estimated the temperature to be about 71 degrees Fahrenheit, on average. Participants who were remembering the warm, fuzzy feeling of social inclusion felt the room to be a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit, on average. The discrepancy is a statistically significant difference, Zhong said.

"We found that the experience of social exclusion literally feels cold," Zhong said. "This may be why people use temperature-related metaphors to describe social inclusion and exclusion." (Read the whole story here)

"I pray for each and all that you may be as flames of love in the world, and that the brightness of your light and the warmth of your affection may reach the heart of every sad and sorrowing child of God. May you be as shining stars, bright and luminous for ever in the Kingdom. I counsel you that you study earnestly the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, so that, God helping you, you may in deed and truth become Bahá'ís."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 95)