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Surprising Science

How Temperature Influences Trust

Fleeting feelings of heat—such as a warm drink or living in a tropical region—increase our willingness to trust strangers. New research on how bodily cues influence our beliefs.

Jonah Lehrer in his blog for Wired Science: If I were a con artist, I’d get in the habit of buying people warm drinks. If that didn’t work, I’d start conducting my con in warm rooms, or maybe move to a tropical region. Why? Because fleeting feelings of heat increase our willingness to trust strangers. That, at least, is the conclusion of a clever new paper from the Bargh lab, which measured the effect of temperature on interpersonal interactions. It’s yet another reminder that even the most incidental bodily cues can impact our beliefs and behavior; the brain is an embodied machine.


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