Do you feel goose bumps on your skin even when the air-conditioning isn't on? It’s probably just your emotions playing a trick on you. According to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, people who feel anxious may think a room is colder than it really is.

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Psychologist Matthew Vess of Ohio University gathered 56 adults online for the study and gave them a test to measure how they felt about relationships. Were they comfortable interacting with other people, or were they avoidant of relationships? Half of the participants were then asked to remember a past romantic breakup, while the rest thought of something neutral. Afterward, they were all asked to rate certain foods based on their desirability. Some of the foods were warm (like soup); others had a regular temperature (like crackers).

Based on the results, participants, regardless of what they were asked to think of, didn’t seem to have any increased desire for foods with neutral temperatures. However, researchers noted that those who were tagged as anxious expressed more desire for warm foods after thinking about past romantic breakups.

In another experiment, 112 participants were given a string of words to use in sentences. These words had something to do with coldness or warmth. Participants were then asked about their own long-term relationships. Only those who were more anxious appeared to get affected. Those who were prodded to think about warmth were more likely to say positive things about their relationship, while those who were primed to think about coldness appeared to be less satisfied with theirs.


Researchers say that the relationship between our emotions and the physical doesn’t end there. Previous research has found that we tend to have smoother discussions when touching smooth materials. Potential employers also seem to think that candidates are better when their resumes are handed out on heavier clipboards. Have you ever had an experience like this? Share it with us in a comment!

(Photo by lululemon athletica via Flickr Creative Commons)

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